Proper 20 B
Our Father Cares for His Children with the Gospel of His Son
The sinful heart is filled with “bitter jealousy and selfish ambition” (James 3:14), which causes hostility, quarrels and conflicts, even among those who are fellow members of the body of Christ. This should not be so! Rather, God “opposes the proud” with His Law, in order to humble them unto repentance; He “gives grace to the humble,” in order to exalt them by His Gospel of forgiveness (James 4:6–10). This true “wisdom from above” is found in the gentleness, mercy and peace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who humbled Himself and sacrificed Himself for the salvation of sinners (James 3:17). He was “like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter,” committing Himself to God, His Father, “who judges righteously, who tests the heart and the mind” (Jeremiah 11:19–20). Therefore, “after three days,” His Father exalted Him by raising Him from the dead (Mark 9:31). In Holy Baptism, He takes disciples of all ages into His arms like little children. In receiving Him through repentance and faith in His forgiveness of sins, they receive from His Father a share in the glory of His cross and resurrection (Mark 9:36–37).
Collect for Proper 20 – O God, whose strength is made perfect in weakness, grant us humility and childlike faith that we may please You in both will and deed; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.
Lord, break our fear of death by reminding us that You have died, never to die again. Today, open our frightened hearts with the resurrection's promise; one day, open our closed eyes with the resurrection's power.
Lord, forgive us for our battles over greatness. Remind us that You alone are great, for You lave served the least among us.
Lord, thank you for Your work through the lives of others. Lead me to welcome those miracles and mercies that You show through every one of Your people.
Jesus shatters our hopes and dreams...
Sunday’s Theme: The Christian and his opposition can be clearly seen in the three main readings for this coming week. In the Old Testament lesson, [Jeremiah 11:18—20] Jeremiah asks vengeance upon his enemies. In the Epistle, [James 3:13-4:10] Opposition has its source in worldly wisdom. In the Gospel, [Mark 9:30-37] Jesus goes to Jerusalem to face his oppressors. Christians live in a hostile world, for friendship with the world is enmity to God.
Jesus goes to Jerusalem to face his oppressors. Jesus again announces His approaching passion and teaches the disciples the meaning of greatness.
On His way to Jerusalem, Jesus announces a second time that He is going there to suffer, die, and rise on the third day. To avoid being detained, he travels incognito.
Unlike the first announcement, the disciples do not understand it and are afraid to ask Him the meaning of it. When the group reaches Capernaum, Jesus asked them what they were discussing during the walk.
They were too embarrassed to answer, for they had discussed who would be Number One in the coming Kingdom. Jesus taught that the one to be first must be last as a servant. To illustrate He takes a child in His arms, for in that day women and children were considered second-class citizens. Jesus makes the point that the greatest will minister to one like a child in His name, and when He does, He serves both Christ and God.
Jesus Again Foretells Death, Resurrection Vv. 30-32 - Jesus repeats the prophecy of His Passion and resurrection while the disciples listen in frightened silence. Death is frightening and confusing when we cannot see the promised resurrection. Yet, Jesus bears our fears as well as our sins on the cross in order to deliver us.
They went on from there and passed through Galilee. And he did not want anyone to know,
κακειθεν εξελθοντες επορευοντο δια της γαλιλαιας και ουκ ηθελεν ινα τις γνοι
- He did not want will wish desire for any to know where they were - because He was teaching them...
for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.”
εδιδασκεν γαρ τους μαθητας αυτου και ελεγεν [αυτοις] οτι ο υιος του ανθρωπου παραδιδοται εις χειρας ανθρωπων και αποκτενουσιν αυτον και αποκτανθεις μετα τρεις ημερας αναστησεται
- he was continually teaching His disciples, the whole Gospel/salvation story. He will be betrayed into the hands of men, and after three days He Shall Rise.
But they did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him.
οι δε ηγνοουν το ρημα και εφοβουντο αυτον επερωτησαι
- They were ignorant of what He meant and afraid of the subject matter...afraid even to engages Jesus in the discussion. They shut up about it.
Who Is the Greatest? VV.32-37 Confused by Jesus' prediction of His death, the disciples return to a subject they know well, their own greatness. Jesus shows them that true status is found in serving those whom God values.
When we are tempted to debate who is the greatest, we should instead look to where the Master hangs on the cross. He represents us before the Father in order to redeem us, and He lead us by the cross into a new life.
And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?”
και ηλθον εις καφαρναουμ και εν τη οικια γενομενος επηρωτα αυτους τι εν τη οδω διελογιζεσθε
- He Asked them "what were you talking about on the road? He brings up the subject.
But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest.
οι δε εσιωπων προς αλληλους γαρ διελεχθησαν εν τη οδω τις μειζων
- They were silent...they shut up...as they were debating, "whose the greatest?" A comparative, "who is greater?"
And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
και καθισας εφωνησεν τους δωδεκα και λεγει αυτοις ει τις θελει πρωτος ειναι εσται παντων εσχατος και παντων διακονος
- sitting down, He called the twelve, if any would be first he must be deacon...sitting prophetic posture for teaching, He calls them to teach. He became first by serving...he's not here to teach them how to be great...
And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them,
και λαβων παιδιον εστησεν αυτο εν μεσω αυτων και εναγκαλισαμενος αυτο ειπεν αυτοις
- taking a παιδιον "little one" He embraced Him and said,
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”
ος αν [εν] των τοιουτων παιδιων δεξηται επι τω ονοματι μου εμε δεχεται και ος αν εμε δεχηται ουκ εμε δεχεται αλλα τον αποστειλαντα με
- whoever receives one of these little children in my name and receives them receives me and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me. Great baptism talk. Proof text!
“Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” - Martin Luther King Jr.
-The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
-1881 Westcott-Hort New Testament (WHNU) -by Public Domain