Scripture: Mark 10:32-34; 10:42-45
The Lament: Way of the Cross by Michael O’Brien
Take It Further:“Cosmic Connections, God Style” by Terre Lucas
Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time
They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again, he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” … And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:32–34, 42–45).
Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson describes the atoms of our bodies “as traceable to stars that have exploded across the galaxy. And out of that scattered enrichment forms the next generations of star systems that have the ingredients that will make planets. And in at least one planet, makes human life.” To paraphrase, he says that here we are on earth; waking up, going through our daily schedules, unaware that we are participants in an ecosystem. It’s about more than us being human (or of a particular age, ethnicity, gender, income, political, or religious group) and everything else lesser. It’s that we are participants in a “great unfolding of cosmic events,” and it should give us a sense of belonging that is bigger than our daily routines. Each of us is part of the universe. Dr. deGrasse Tyson, an atheist, says this is a gift from 20th-century astrophysics to our civilization. I, a Christian, say it is a gift from the eternal, all-encompassing God.
In Mark 10:32–34, Jesus, the expert questioner, didn’t ask the disciples about following him. He simply said, “Listen,” before rolling out his fate. That doesn’t mean that individual disciples didn’t pause to reflect on their readiness for this charge. James and John asked a direct question of Christ—to sit at his left and right hands. Clearly, the brothers didn’t realize they were party to a greater unfolding of events. When the remaining disciples heard of their request, I’m sure they all had the same question: “Can you believe they asked for that?” Some disciples probably thought, “Well, why not me?” Jesus countered all conversations about sitting comfortably with one comment about their willingness to suffer immensely.
Of all the people I could quote, I quoted an atheist. A wise W242 pastor said, “All truth belongs to God.” I chose Dr. deGrasse Tyson in this instance because of the truth he speaks and the beauty to the flow of his words. I believe God pursues atheists, alongside his pursuit of me in my imperfect walk. Jesus broke bread with those we’d least expect. In the name of service, can we ask questions in search of unity via points of agreement with others who believe differently? If we can open the doors for civil discourse, we can engage in honest conversations about hard, meaningful things. Eventually, that meaningful thing may be Christ’s life and service on the cross.
Sadly, we are often stuck questioning conditions designed to protect our own self-interests when the Word assures us that God has prepared places for those whom he has chosen. If we are to become better servants, maybe we can practice seeing ourselves as part of this bigger ecosystem.
When we remember that God is our creator and the atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars, then we may see that in times good or bad, we are here but for a season to shine brightly, walk humbly, laugh heartily, care genuinely, love deeply; oh yes, and to serve.
We’d love to hear from you. Please share with us below your thoughts and insight. We would love to see Take it Further be a place where as a community we dialog, and together we all take the conversation further.
*Note: If you wish, you can look up this and other Bible passages online at youversion.com
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