Zachary Baker Rodes
Today’s Daily Office Gospel reading comes to us from Mark 10:32-45.
Verse 45 is well known and goes like this, “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
This phrase is the key Christological statement of Mark’s Gospel. The Son of Man, Jesus Christ, is a servant. In the reading, James and John ask Jesus if they could be seated next to him, “in your glory”. In fact, in a way the question is much more arrogant for they ask Jesus to do what they want.
But it isn’t that easy, and he warns them that too will have to go through trials just like he is to go through because that is the way of servanthood. The other apostles get angry at James and John for even asking the
question, but Jesus doesn’t scold any of them because none of them know that in order to lead and in order to be first, is actually to make oneself last and servant to all.
And when Jesus says that “[he] give[s] his life a ransom for many”, this does not mean many and not all, but simply the many for whom the Gospel is written, which is all of us. But in all of us, our servanthood towards others can only happen when we put Jesus first and ourselves last. In this humility is the hope that God’s glory will be shown, and the Gospel fully taught and fully lived.
The Rev. Charles Hoffacker is a retired priest of the Diocese of Washington