SACRIFICE OF THANKSGIVING            Mtt.20 20-28

James and John had everything going for them – or so their mother thought. They had been followers of Jesus and things had never looked better. Jesus was a popular person drawing many crowds. The disciples were in the limelight. These simple, poor, and humble fishermen had such a turnaround in their lives since the very first day they encountered Jesus

There was a mentality among many Jews at the time of Jesus (and there is till is now) that the Messiah certainly would come. When he came he would establish his reign. There would be victory, peace and life. Unfortunately, many understood this messiah-figure would be politically orientated. They did not expect the Messiah, of which Jesus was to be acclaimed, as one who would suffer and die. Many people hoped that the messiah would be the anointed one who would overturn the Roman government and that Israel would enjoy prosperity and peace. The messiahship of Jesus was far different to their ways of thinking.

It was in this vain that the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus. She pays him homage, and makes her request – one at the right and one at the left of Jesus’ Kingdom. It is true that Jesus says to her in reply; she does not know what she is asking.

To be a disciple of Jesus is costly, nothing less than giving of ones life for the cause of the gospel.  The chalice that was passed around at the table of the King in celebration of his reign was different from the chalice that Jesus speaks of. It was to mean to experience and undergo Jesus’ own journey of suffering. The chalice Jesus speaks of is the cup of God’s wrath, the cup of judgment. Notice with what enthusiasm the disciples James and John agree to this. They were truly to enter into the sufferings of Christ. James was beheaded by King Agrippa and John was exiled from his beloved community on Pathos (a Greek Island), hearing news of the persecution his fellow community was undergoing

Matthew tells us the response of the other ten on hearing these men seemingly jostling for position – to get an upstart in the Kingdom! Jealousy, envy and resentment find its way among the brethren, which allows Jesus to use the situation as a tool for teaching on leadership, service in the Kingdom of God. The service of Jesus was that of a ransom, a price to be paid. That price was the price of his blood which would be poured out as a sacrifice for the sinfulness of humanity. To be a disciple of Jesus is costly.

There will be times when we are called to drink the chalice of suffering, but we also take the cup of thanksgiving as we call on the name of the Lord who helps us in our journey. Our bodies are to be offered as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God (Rom.12). Are we willing to surrender our lives to God as a sacrifice that is pleasing to him?
What sacrifice can I make before the Lord today? Let us offer something to him -our time, resources, support of a friend or family member.

Help me Lord to endure the cost of following you. Grant me the grace to love you and seek your face Amen