Sermon, October 17, 2021 - St. Martin's In the Desert


Sermon, October 17, 2021

Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 24
Year B

October 17, 2021

First Reading: Job 38:1-7, [34-41]
Psalm 104: 1-9,25,37b
Second Reading: Hebrews 5:1-10
Gospel: Mark 10:35-45


Almighty and Everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Are We Able to Drink the Cup That Jesus Drank?

If you remember the last time I was here, we talked about the 3 passions of the gospel of Mark. This was his last and most detailed passion.

 The announcement of Jesus Death…. The failure of the part of the disciples…. And Jesus Teaches on Discipleship.

  1. Jesus will suffer, be rejected, killed, and will rise after three days. (8:31) Peter rebukes Jesus.
  2. Jesus will be delivered, killed and will rise after three days. (9:30-31) The disciples do not understand the saying and are afraid to ask him about it.
  3. Jesus will be delivered, condemned, mocked, flogged, killed, and will rise after three days. James and John ask that they may sit nest to Jesus in his glory. (10:35-37)

Gospel of Mark 10:35-45

In today’s gospel, Jesus gives his final and most detailed description of his upcoming trial that will have him suffering his death and his resurrection. He is about to enter Jerusalem and will be confronted by the temple authorities. 

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

James and John are alone with Jesus, and have found some courage to ask or request privileged places, to let them sit at his right and his left hand “in your glory”.

Jesus responds to this idea that they do not know what they are asking of him. 

Jesus says, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared”

Of course, they are bewildered and confused as always. They have given up everything to follow Jesus and his explanation just confuses them more. 

He is again, telling them what is about to happen to him, was meant for him, he is talking about the violence, the torchers, the death he’s to endure and he will die a despised and powerless king.

All those who are in power…in Jerusalem, will do all they can to protect their exclusive and particular class of authority.  

James and John can’t sit next to him in glory…. they think it’s going to be like a King’s Palace as if it will be how a king reigned over kingdoms in their day and they want a place next to Jesus. 

Their request indicates that they have completely misunderstood Jesus’ mission and movement as well as refused to hear what Jesus has repeatedly told them.

We all know how it ends…we have seen the final curtain and Jesus is on a cross, he has been stripped beaten, flogged a crown of thorns on his head, spit upon and he is nailed to a cross, this is not a king, he is next to common criminals and he will offer them a place next to him in glory.   

A month or more, a friend had suggested watch Top Chief, a competitive cooking show. 

I like to watch things from the beginning and this went back to 2006. It doesn’t matter if it was last year, people are all the same, no matter when it is. They all want to get to the top…to cook the best dish that will get them further in the competition and to be noticed by the judges and to win the coveted title. 

James and John wanted this coveted spot next to Jesus a human behavior still today.    

When the other 10 disciples hear all this, between James and John, they respond with disgust and anger, just as we would do in the same situation. They claim they are prepared to follow the path of Jesus into martyrdom for the cause which he promises will happen, but he rejects their request as presumptuous.

Jesus talks about rulers’ verses servants, “But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

The request for positions of power and privilege results in conflict among the disciples.

But in contrast to the imperial practices of the nations, there will be no rulers in Jesus’ movement or communities!

Rather, would-be leaders must take the role of servants, following the paradigm of the Son of Man, Jesus, whose martyrdom will be a ransom of many.


In our society we have thousands and thousands of examples were Christians and non-Christians who are willing to give up all they have and serve others.

“We are” willing to drink the cup… Jesus drinks and it guides us in our Christian lives. We know what truly matters, in the complicated world we live in, and God sees everything we do and what’s in our hearts.

Jesus says our true worth lies in relationships: with God, and with each other, and with the work we are called to do.

We all have been given different gifts from God and it’s up to us to find those gifts, to support others in their gifts, and help each other’s live out each individual callings in the world. 

Romans 7:4 says, “You are part of the body of Christ and now you belong to Him in order that we might be useful in service of God.”

God says that the way you know you’re a part of the body of Christ is that you serve others. Serving is the proof of our identity as members of His family.

The Good News:

The readings today help us focus on the question of what God expects of us, and how we are loved by God, and how we will continue to serve others, before ourselves and because of our sacraments by God’s grace and our Baptism, we are members of Christ body and we able to drink the cup that Jesus drank.

The Reverend Lola Culbreath