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Jesus Asks Lots of Questions

June 27, 2018 by The staff of The Upper Room (Nashville, Tennessee)

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you?—John 6: 53-61 (NIV)

In the above passage, Jesus claims that his very self is the sustenance we're looking for, that even though we may chase after many things in our lives, we only need one thing: him.

In our world, this is perhaps the most offensive claim Jesus makes; he and he only is what everyone needs. Many of us don't think of ourselves as having needs. And if we conced that we have needs, we imagine we are unique enough that no one-size-fits-all solution exists. Still, Jesus says that he is the source of life for all.

REFLECT: Does this offend you?

     Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
     “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
     They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
     “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
     “We can,” they answered.
     Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
     When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John.Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
—Mark 10: 35-45 (NIV)

James and John are looking for what they call "glory." They're looking for prestige, power, and reputation—quite a different definition from how Jesus sees glory. If they want prestige, Jesue' "glory" is hardly the place they're going to find it. Later, in Mark 15: 27, we see that the people on Jesus' right and left are the two criminals crucified with him, proclaiming to us that Jesus is in his glory on the cross. This, presumably, is not what James and John are looking for. So Jesus replies with some clarifying questions about what James and John really want. He turns their attention from what they want to what's worth wanting. How might Jesus do this for us as well?

REFLECT: What do you want me to do for you?

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