I accompanied my family to church yesterday morning. In his inimitable style, Fr. Varghese preached a beautiful sermon on the Gospel of Mark regarding Jesus’ announcement of His crucifixion and resurrection. I’ve extracted a few notes from his sermon and put it in my own words for your own meditation:
…for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, "The Son of man will be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed, after three days he will rise." But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to ask him.
Whose glory do you seek?
There can be no share in God's glory without the cross. When Jesus prophesied his own betrayal and crucifixion, it did not make any sense to his disciples because it did not fit their understanding of what the Messiah came to do. And they were afraid to ask further questions. How often do we reject what we do not wish to see? We have heard the good news of God's word and we know the consequences of accepting it or rejecting it. But do we give it our full attention and mold our lives according to it?
How ashamed the disciples must have been when Jesus overheard them arguing about who among them was the greatest! But aren’t we like the disciples? We compare ourselves with others and desire their praise. The appetite for glory and greatness seems to be inbred in us. Who doesn't cherish the ambition to be "somebody" whom others admire rather than a “nobody"?
What is the significance of Jesus' gesture of embracing a child?
Who is the greatest in God's kingdom? The one who is humble and lowly of heart — who instead of asserting their rights willingly empty themselves of pride and self-seeking glory by taking the lowly position of a servant or child.
Jesus, himself, is our model. He came not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28). Paul the Apostles state that Jesus emptied himself and took the form of a servant (Phil. 2:7). God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).
If we want to be filled with God's life and power, then we need to empty ourselves of everything which stands in the way — pride, self-seeking glory, vanity, etc. God wants empty vessels so he can fill them with his own glory, power, and love (2 Cor. 4:7).
Are we ready to humble ourselves and to serve as Jesus did?
(Let us ask the Lord to fill us with his Holy Spirit and to inspire within us a reverence for his word and a readiness to obey it).