Bible Reading and Commentary on Mark 10:32-52 by the 2019 Confirmands

24
Jun

Jake:

We’ve been reflecting about a passage from the Gospel of Mark. 

Mary:

We invite you to reflect along with us.

Jake:

It begins in the 10th chapter with the 32nd verse. 

Mary:

(Pause.) They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying,

Jake:

‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again.’

Katie:

Jesus is heading to Jerusalem where he will lay down his life in love for all people.  But the disciples quickly show they can’t take such love in. 

Liz:

Maybe it had to do with the fact they are afraid. They are trapped inside themselves.

Mary:

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’ 

Jake:

And he said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ 

Mary:

And they said to him, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.’ 

Liz:

(Pause.) All the kingdoms of this world have status ladders.

Katie:

Some people find themselves at the top – others at the bottom.

Liz:

James and John want Jesus to put them in the VIP seats – at the top of the status ladder they imagine will be in Jesus’ Kingdom.

Jake

But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ 

Mary:

They replied, ‘We are able.’

Katie:

(Pause.) The “cup” and “the baptism” of which Jesus is speaking is the death he is preparing to undergo.

Liz: 

He’s asking them, “Are you ready to lay down your life, your ego, to be a channel of God’s love for others – for the whole world?”

Katie:

“We are able,” they say.  But, actually….. they aren’t.  Not yet at least. 

Liz:

When the soldiers come to arrest Jesus, fear will overtake them and they will all flee. 

Katie:

Nonetheless, Jesus does not reject them.  He doesn’t say,

Liz:

“Make sure your motivations are pure and you have a faith that wipes away all fear and THEN you can begin to follow me!”

Katie:

He takes them where they are.

Liz:

He sees that further down the journey of their lives, they will learn how to drink his cup and undergo his baptism. 

Jake:

(Pause.) And so Jesus said to them,  ‘The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.’

Katie:

(Pause.) Jesus sees further down the journey of our lives as well. 

Liz:

He knows what we are capable of becoming. 

Katie:

Even when we mess up in life, he knows the good of which we are capable. 

Mary:

(Pause.) When the ten heard this,

Liz:

That is – when the others disciples heard that James and John wanted the two top seats in Jesus’ kingdom

Mary:

they began to be angry with James and John.

Jake:

So Jesus called them and said to them, ‘You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be servant of all. For the “Son of Man” —

Katie:

That’s the humble way Jesus liked to refer to himself – as the “Son of Man”

Jake:

came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life for others.

Liz:

This is Jesus’ way.  It is the way we hope to learn over the course of our lives.

Jake:

(Pause.) They came to Jericho.

Mary:

As Jesus and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 

Jake:

Many sternly ordered him to be quiet,

Katie:

The crowd wanted poor Bartimaeus the blind beggar to stay invisible. 

Liz:

To stay in his place.  To be who they wanted him to be.

Mary:

but Bartimaeus cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ 

Jake:

Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’

Mary:

And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 

Jake:

Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’

Katie:

The same question he asked James and John.

Mary:

The blind man said to Jesus, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’ 

Liz:

Some have eyes to see, but cannot see what truly matters in life.

Katie:

This too is a kind of blindness. To some extent, we are all blind this way.

Liz:

Help us, Jesus to see what really matters. 

Jake:

(Pause.) Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’

Katie:

We believe there is a mustard seed of faith that God has placed inside of us. 

Liz:

A faith that trusts that God really has our backs – that God really wants to awaken the gifts God gave us and use them to bless this broken world. 

Katie:

We trust that – although we can don’t yet know how this will happen – that God knows.

Mary:

(Pause.) Immediately Bartimaeus regained his sight and followed Jesus on the way.

(Jake and Mary quietly exit and readers Briana, Marissa and Anna take their places.)

Liz:

(Pause.) So Bartimaeus became a follower of Jesus. He walked the “way” of Jesus.

Katie:

When you get down to it, that’s really what a Christian is:  somebody who walks in the way of Jesus. 

Liz:

We want to do that too. 

(Liz and Katie quietly exit; Spandan, Colleen and Maggie take their places.)

Briana:

We were struck by the question Jesus asked the disciples – John and James – the same question he later asked poor Bartimaeus at the side of the road:

Marissa:

“What do you want me to do for you?”

Anna:

We realize that the answers we give to this question will change over the course of our journey. 

Briana:

Here are a few of the answers we came up with in the places we find ourselves now. 

Marissa:

“I would ask Jesus to allow me and all whom I care about to have good health and wellness. I wouldn’t ask for a lot of money, but that we may live together in harmony.”

Anna:

“I would ask Jesus to make the world a better place – more peaceful, loving and happy.  And also, let my bunny Penelope live forever.” 

Briana:

“I would ask for a puppy.  But on further thought, let the people who are suffering most, have the happiest of moments.”

Marissa:

“I would ask to become more awake, with heightened senses with which to help and inspire people.”

Anna:

“I would ask Jesus to lead me down my own personal path and help me make conscious decisions.”

Briana:

“With all the conflicts the world is having, I would ask Jesus to make the world a more harmonious place.”

Marissa:

“I would ask Jesus to guide me through the hard, challenging, and worst parts of my life.” 

Anna:

“I would ask that even in the rough times that I could learn and grow as a human being.  I want God to make sure I can be the best possible me.”

Briana:

I would ask for health for me and the people I love, and for help in guiding me to make the right decisions in life.   

Marissa:

I would ask Jesus to be a comfort I can turn to when I feel that I am in my darkest times. I want him to guide me through my hardships and allow me to see the light and positive sides of situations.

Anna:

How would you answer this question? 

Colleen:

(Pause.) We also realized that it isn’t just us doing the asking. Jesus asks things of us, as well.  We pondered the question,

Maggie:

“What do you think Jesus wants us to do for God?”

Spandan:

Here are a few of the answers we came up with:

Colleen:

“Jesus wants me to be more forgiving, kind, compassionate, and helpful.” 

Maggie:

“Jesus wants me to learn from my mistakes so that I don’t let evil fester inside me and I don’t hurt people.  Jesus wants good to grow inside me.”

Spandan:

“Jesus wants me to know that God loves me.  Jesus wants me to give my full devotion to God and listen to his word.”

Colleen:

“Jesus wants me to help encourage the people of the world to be accepting and kind.”

Maggie:

“Jesus wants me to have a lot of faith in him.”

Spandan:

“Jesus wants me to worship and praise God, and to believe in God even when I don’t feel his presence.”

Colleen:

“Jesus wants me to respect and love everyone equally.” 

Maggie:

“Jesus wants me to accept everyone and be kind to everyone.”

Spandan:

“Jesus wants me to view God’s children equally and not to judge them for who they are.” 

Colleen:

“Jesus just wants me to be the best person I can be and to try and be strong in my faith.  In the end all we can do is try.  And that’s enough.”

Maggie:

“Jesus wants me to put love out into the world – to help or comfort someone whenever I can.” 

Spandan:

“Jesus wants me to let people know I forgive them.  Jesus wants me to make someone smile every day.”


Colleen:

“Jesus wants me to be true to myself and to keep communicating with God.”

Maggie:

“Jesus wants me to utilize God’s strength and to always be thankful for the connection I have with him.”

Briana:

(Pause.) You who have gathered here today in support of us,

Marissa:

we invite you also to consider this question: 

Anna:

(Slowly.) What do you think Jesus wants you to be doing?

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