March 15, 2017

Jeremiah 18:18-20


Then they said, “Come, let us make plots against Jeremiah—for instruction shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, let us bring charges against him,[a] and let us not heed any of his words.”


Give heed to me, O Lord,

    and listen to what my adversaries say!

Is evil a recompense for good?

    Yet they have dug a pit for my life.

Remember how I stood before you

    to speak good for them,

    to turn away your wrath from them.


Psalm 31:5-6, 14-16


Take me out of the net that is hidden for me,

    for you are my refuge.

Into your hand I commit my spirit;

    you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.

For I hear the whispering of many—

    terror all around!—

as they scheme together against me,

    as they plot to take my life.

But I trust in you, O Lord;

    I say, “You are my God.”

My times are in your hand;

    deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.


Matthew 20:17-28


While Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised.”


Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favor of him. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”


When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”






Today in our readings we see side-by-side three men facing death at the hands of their enemies; the prophet Jeremiah, the king David, and the Lord Jesus. What is different between them? The prophet and king are praying, “Lord, save me”. The Lord is saying, “I came to save”.


This is what Jesus asks of his disciples and of us. Not that we should not cry out to him when we are in distress and facing injustice, or that we should not have ambitions; but that these come second to taking up our cross. He asks that power and authority not corrupt our focus, but simply that we receive his gift of salvation and carry that gift and a heart of service into our lives and into our world.


Prayer: Lord Jesus, make me your servant today. May I receive more fully of your gift of salvation, and may my eyes be opened to how I may share it in service of your people.

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