29B18. Isiah 53:10-11. Suffering for the sins of others because God wishes it of him, God’s servant will be rewarded abundantly.
Mark 10:35-45. The brothers, James and John, ask of Jesus that, when he comes into glory and power, they want to be closest to the center of power which would mean that the other ten would be in lower and lesser positions than they. Of course, the other ten became indignant on hearing the boldness of their request. Jesus denied their request saying that that was not his to give. However, much more important to Jesus was that seeking power over others was not his goal but rather serving others. “Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to first among you will be the slave of all.” God is love and he is the model of what we should be. Though all-powerful he did not impose himself on us because he wished us to be loving as he is loving. He created us with free will so that we could make the choice on our own be loving or to reject love. To be loving means that we must be lowly when to be lowly is what love requires as when Jesus chose to be a helpless infant; to suffer as when he suffered for us; to die as when he died for us. He made God’s almighty divine power subject to his desire to be loving rather than overwhelming us with might. For God love lords it over power and might, making power and might the servant of love. “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Paul writes in Philippians 2: 5-8: “Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, ‘Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found to be human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross’”
Hebrews 4:14-16. Jesus, always remaining God, nonetheless became human so to become the great high priest who offered up himself on the cross to redeem us from our sins. In his humanness Jesus came to “sympathize with our weaknesses,” being “tested in every way yet without sin.” As the song says, “We have a friend in Jesus.” We can live with confidence and without fear knowing that his infinite love for us drew him from the heavens so to be close to our side by embracing humanity into his very being. His humanity and his human life on this earth assures us that he can sympathize with us so to help us when we need it and be merciful to us.
Psalm 33. The last verses of this Sunday’s psalm say: “Our soul waits for the Lord who is our help and our shield. May your kindness, O Lord, be upon us who have put our hope in you.”