Scripture: Lectionary 233, March 7, 2012: Jeremiah 18:18-20. Psalm 31:5-6.14.15-16. Matthew 20:17-28
Jeremiah and Jesus’ sufferings are similar enough to say Jeremiah is type of the Christ-figure. Both are rejected by their religious leaders and some of the people. Both forgive their oppressors and offer their lives to God’s plan of salvation through prophecy and then through their lives and their deaths. We learn of their patient and consistent endurance in all of their trials and sufferings. Jeremiah prays to God to forgive those who are trying to put him to death. Jesus is always teaching his disciples that following him is a life of service which will lead them to suffer and die with him. His mysterious words about resurrection puzzle them but give them hope that he is the Savior, the Messiah or Anointed One of God.
Jesus has promised us life after death and he gives his own life as a ransom for many. All are invited to enjoy eternal life through the Resurrection of the Son of God and the Son of Man, Jesus.
Though he has shared this plan with his disciples they are earthly minded and want to be leaders. They are jealous that two brothers, James and John, are trying to be at Jesus’ right hand and left hand at the time of the resurrection and the fullness of the kingdom. Even their mother asks this for them. The other ten are indignant and need another of Jesus’ teachings to thwart their selfishness and ambitious thoughts.
Selfishness is not a quality of good spiritual leadership and for that matter of any kind of leadership. When we enter into such thoughts as the twelve have we are thinking about earthly realities that often are fraught with greed, envy, and ambition. Jesus wants his followers to think the thoughts of God. Both Mark and Matthew are in agreement on this leading teaching of Jesus.
Leadership in the spiritual realm is a life of service to our fellow brothers and sisters. The mother of James and John has to learn the same lesson as her sons do. We must do the same and especially think about the plan of God for us and how we are to be leaders, that is, servants of the Suffering Servant of God, Jesus! Amen.