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James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 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?” They replied, “We are able.” Then 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.”
When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. 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 slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
This is the Gospel selection that will be read aloud by a priest on the twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost [Proper 24], Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. It will follow one of two pairs of Old Testament and Psalm readings, depending on what Track an individual church is on for Year B. The Track 1 pairing has Yahweh respond to Job, after his complaints and the visits from ‘friends’ that try to sway him to admit his wickedness and move on. Psalm 104 has David sing, “You have set the earth upon its foundations, so that it never shall move at any time.” The Track 2 pairing offers Isaiah singing about the troubles of the world, with a lyric that says, “When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days.” Psalm 91 then has David praising: “Because he is bound to me in love, therefore will I deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my Name.” Whichever the path, they will precede a reading from Hebrews, where Paul wrote, “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.”
I wrote about this reading from Mark’s tenth chapter the last time it came up in the lectionary cycle (2018). I posted my observations on my website, which is not available her to read; simply click this link. I went into some depth of explanation, including adding some background material, which I will not repeat at this time. I welcome all readers to view that three-year old posting and then compare what I wrote then to what I will now add. I invite all comments, questions, suggestions and corrections. Send them to me via email; or, sign up to post directly to a post in the blog.
Today, I want to turn the focus on how this Gospel reading supports and is supported by the other readings that come forth on this twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost. In that, it helps to realize the Gospel reading from the Sunday prior ended at verse thirty-one, with this reading beginning at verse thirty-five, making three verses from Mark’s tenth chapter be leaped over. Those three verses tell of Jesus explaining to his disciples a third time that he was going to be punished in Jerusalem, handed over to the Romans and killed. That needs to be understood as the motivation behind “James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Jesus.”
In the story of Job, Yahweh finally speaks to His servant, in the thirty-eighth chapter. Many chapters have been the set-up, with Job complaining about wanting to know what he did (so he could never do that again), while being advised by all kinds of ‘friends,’ all of whom have attempted to sway Job from his devotion to Yahweh. This becomes a parallel to the three times Jesus told his disciples of his coming future. Three came to Job: Bildad; Eliphaz; and, Zophar, with an uninvited Elihu coming before Yahweh spoke to Job. All of them represent “elohim,” which Yahweh had said Job feared elohim and turned away from them.
When we see now that two of Jesus’ disciples heard of Jesus seeming to complain about an unrightful persecution by the leaders of Jerusalem, they “came forward” (from “prosporeuontai” meaning “come to, approach”) like the ‘friends’ of Job. Rather than be direct and tell Jesus, “We are your two strongest followers and we wish to be close to you, so we can prevent what you say will come from coming,” they made a simple request to be the two always closest to Jesus. They stated their request as being “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” When Jesus then told 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?” that explains what the friends of Job were attempting to become.
The left and right are symbolic of wrong and right. In a way, this is a request to be the evil and good of Jesus; and, that is a request coming from the serpent, as they sought to become extensions of Jesus that controlled his future through acts that could both be good and evil. They then sought to become “elohim” over the soul of Jesus, where his allowing them a preferred position in his life would be no different that Job taking the advice of his ‘friends’ and letting them remove Yahweh as his One God in marriage, who represents always the Tree of Life.
Jesus then asked James and John if they could “drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with.” That was Jesus saying his soul was totally possessed by Yahweh the Father. Jesus drank from the cup of living waters. Jesus was baptized with the outpouring of Yahweh’s Spirit, which had granted him eternal life, not just one mortal existence on planet earth. When James and John said, “We are able” [“Dynametha,” a capitalized word elevated to a divine level of meaning], they lied as would all misled by Satan elohim. Their only ability was to weaken Jesus and make him fear death, which he knew was part of his coming future.
This needs to be heard as why Yahweh asked Job, “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge.” Yahweh knew the ‘friends’ of Job were more attempts by Satan to test Job, hoping Job would break under the pretense of ‘friends’ seeking what would be best for Job. Both James and John, sons of Zebedee, were possessed by Satan, leading their brains to say what they said, hearing Satan whisper, “How great you will be among men, if you protect your Teacher from harm.” They spoke with darkened counsel, using words that announced, “We know nothing of value.”
Jesus then told the two, “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.” That says the cup of drink and the baptism within Jesus was Yahweh and nothing else. While Yahweh knew James and John would become Apostles and serve Him as Jesus reborn, that time still to come would be from their souls also marrying Yahweh, becoming His wives. At that time, they would become the right hands of Yahweh, as was Jesus. Jesus, himself, was committed to Yahweh, so he could not do anything other than turn away from such a suggestion. The suggestion said neither James nor John were prepared to marry Yahweh at that time.
When Mark then wrote of the other ten disciples getting angry at the request made by James and John, that says they each wanted to be the one to save Jesus. None of them wanted him to be punished and die. This says they each saw Jesus as their elohim that they would sell their soul to be close to. This speaks of all of Christianity today, as Christians love to continuously hold a Passion Play, where Jesus once again tells of his coming arrest, punishment and death, forgetting all about the Easter message of resurrection WITHIN ALL TRUE CHRISTIANS! Everyone wants to save Jesus from death by remembering his death eternally; while no one anymore [or very few] see the death as a necessary step that freed the soul of Jesus to become reborn in the flesh of a new CHRISTIAN.
Jesus then said, “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.” A “Gentile” is anyone who is a soul not married to Yahweh, so a “Gentile” was a term that equally applied to all the rulers of Jerusalem, because none of them were servants of Yahweh, as His divine wives. In the same way, people wearing the same attire – robes and high hats – become the rulers of all the denominations of “Christianity,” where a pope deems what sacrifices a Catholic needs to made (unwillingly). An Archbishop of the Church of England decides it is okay to marry a royal family member (a half-breed) to a half-breed American (a mongrel), as if that is blessed by Yahweh. An Episcopal Presiding Bishop parades around his own version of racism and declares it is now okay to marry homosexuals in his churches. This is the tyranny of Gentile religions; and, the governments of Gentile nations [no matter what religion or philosophy they say they hold dear] have no moral compass by which they guide souls.
Jesus then added, “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 slave of all.” This says Jesus knew the souls of all but Judas Iscariot would become brides of Yahweh and reborn as Jesus, merged with their souls. Jesus knew they would be TRUE CHRISTIANS. A true Christian is then defined as a servant of all, and least among men. This was the third time Jesus has told them this scenario in the past month. That says all rulers of religions are not to be listened to, as they are all those elohim ‘friends’ of Job, trying to get him to turn away from Yahweh.
In Isaiah’s song, he sang as a soul sacrificed to Yahweh. His lyrics sound as if he were prophesying the coming of Jesus, who would be the lamb led silently to slaughter. The truth is Isaiah was Jesus when he wrote that song divinely. Isaiah is like all the disciples of Jesus would be, when they were prepared for divine marriage to the Spirit. All who will be Jesus reborn must willingly go to the altar to be sheared and slaughtered, offered up as a soul for Yahweh. One cannot stay the same elohim led around by Satan and expect to gain eternal rewards. Thus, one needs to know just how much these words apply to all who seek Redemption:
“Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the
strong; because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the
transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the
As a reading to be read aloud on the twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry for Yahweh should already be well underway, the lesson here is to stop trying to tell Jesus what to do. One needs to realize the error of being a tiny, meaningless “god” of Satan, who always goes around telling others how to live their lives, never once doing what he or she says do. The lesson here is to hear the words of Yahweh to Job and realize I know none of the answers to the question, or I know all of the answers because my soul knows Yahweh intimately. One is either a Gentile ruler of the world, who loves to persecute, oppress, and tyrant over others [using names of gods and Biblical characters in the process]; or, one is a wife of Yahweh who says to others, “to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant.” Sadly, the world is full of chiefs, with very few servants to go around.