Sermon for 25th Sunday after Pentecost, 10/17/2021
Psalm 104:1-9, 25, 37; Job 38:1-7, 34-41; Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:35-48
Our psalm this morning comes from a series of psalms known for the specific purpose of lifting the congregation to praise God, describing God’s greatness and majesty. Worshipers invite each other to praise God and to provide reasons for such praise. These worshipers are describing God’s creation from the heavens to the seas, from the mountains to the fields below, and so on. It is praising God’s revelation in nature. How many times do you sit and watch the sunrise or even a sunset, and remark how beautiful God “paints the sky?” The old term, “Stop and smell the roses,” come to mind that especially in our fast paced world, we miss much of the beauty of our world.
God speaks to Job not in a condescending manner, but more in a philosophical way. He does not defend Himself and all that took place to Job; instead, he asked him to take notice of the great universe and if Job had ever considered the creation of the earth and the nature of the universe. He asked Job if he understood the foundation of the fundamental universe. God does not provide us with a formula for this world; rather he speaks to us with a formula concerning His activity. He gently speaks to us in a way, that does not make us feel dumb for not understanding what He created for us, and in a way that should make us feel so love, because He did this for all of us. We should pause and consider the love He feels for us that would lead to all of His creation, including us and the animals, the creatures of the sea, etc. and it should lead us to praise Him.
Our lesson from Hebrews speaks to us about Jesus as our High Priest, representing us before God because God chose His Son to be our eternal Priest. Interpretation and application of the old Testament in light of Christ proves this. His prayer life of submission to the Father during His earthly ministry revealed He is an effective Priest. His atoning death brought an end to the priests’ role in atonement, giving us eternal salvation. We still use priests, ministers, pastors, etc. as earthly leaders of our respective churches, as they can be intercessors between us and Jesus. Jesus’ prayer life and His suffering highlight His full humanity in absolute submission to the Father, showed just how important our prayer lives ought to be like. His submission to the Father reveals to us that now we are to pray to Him for salvation for lost people and that our Father is still in Heaven, but He appointed Jesus as the One to direct our prayers. God was with Jesus during His suffering and death and restored Him to life. Now our prayers should be like His, deeply personal, emotional conversations to the loving Father to whom we willingly submit ourselves to Him.
Our Gospel this morning begins with Jesus gathering His disciples and predicts His death for the third and final time only adding the details of His being mocked and mistreated are added. Suffering, humiliation, and humility mark the church. We are no better than Christ, our Master, beloved. As He served other people without seeking fame, power, or position, so must we. We read about James and John seeking heavenly rewards, but we can only offer earthly service.
Jesus’ reference to baptism, but in this passage, He refers to His death. The cup is the Lord Supper and baptism (the ritual of confession and the symbol of death and resurrection) are the ordinances He gave and which He sealed by His death.
Office and power, positions of seating have all been apart of Christian churches and what makes people great. These things have nothing to do with making people in the church great, only Service to and for Jesus Christ does this. To be one of Jesus’ disciples, is to commit oneself to serve God and other people. The Lord Himself came not to be served but to serve, even unto death on a cross. A true disciple of Jesus seek ways to help others. The greatest disciple will e the greatest servant. So go forth into the world seeking to love and serve others with the same love that He loves us now. Amen