March 20, 2009 - Friday of the Third Week of Lent

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 10:1-23; St. Mark 10:31-52

And they said to him, ‘Give to us to sit one at your right and one at your left in your glory.’” (St. Mark 10:37)

In the Name of Jesus. Amen. The disciples were indignant. You would be, too! How dare James and John ask for such a thing! How dare they ask for the top seats in glory--before we thought to ask for it first.

Oh yes, that’s what we want too, isn’t it? We want the big, important spots with God and those around us. We want the best rating, the top billing, the presidency, the chairman of the board of directors. We want others to look up at us and do what we want them to do. Today, give up wanting to be number one in God’s eyes and in the eyes of others. The Only-Begotten of the Father, the One who truly could claim the top spot for Himself doesn’t! Fix your eyes on Him.

He’s going up to Jerusalem. He’s headed for His Baptism and His cup of suffering. In Jerusalem, the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes. He will be betrayed, condemned, and then handed over to the Romans to be crucified.

Then, the Glory and Majesty of Almighty God, the Only-Begotten of the Father, will be mocked, spat upon, and flogged. After that, we’ll do the unthinkable: We will kill God’s Son.

You want to be big, the most important one, the topic of all the media attention. Christ suffers for that sin. You want to catch God’s attention with what you do. Christ is flogged for that sin. You push others down so that everyone can see you. Christ dies for that sin.

This is the glory of God, this is the majesty of the Father: Christ hangs dead on the Cross, having answered for the evil that you do daily and much.

Oh, James and John will drink from the cup of Christ’s sufferings. They will be baptized into His death. But Jesus can’t give James and John the spots on His right and left when He comes into His glory. Those were prepared for two others. On His right and on His left when Jesus is crucified, when He comes into His glory, are two common thieves (St. Mark 15:27).

And after three days, Jesus did what He said and rose from the dead. You’ve risen with Him in Baptism, too. So leave behind the worldly thoughts of glory and of being first. Set them aside and put those around you first, instead. Let them be more important, let them get the attention.

Christ, who is the Glory of God, has shown you His glory this Lenten season. His glory is the Cross, where He died for you. Let His crucified Body be your glory, too. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

In the Cross of Christ I glory, Towering o'er the wrecks of time. All the light of sacred story Gathers round its head sublime.” (TLH 354, verse 1)