Reflections: St. James the Elder, Apostle

Today’s Reading: Mark 10:35-45
Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 10:1-27; Acts 22:17-29

“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.” (Mark 10:40)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Sons of Thunder don’t know what they’re asking for. “Let us sit, one at your right hand, and one at your left, in your glory.” I guess their nickname makes sense. It sounds like they want to be tag team champions of the world. They want the glory to be revealed in terms of power, not mercy. But the Son of Man is glorified on a Cross for sinners. To be at His right hand and His left in His glory is to be crucified with Him. That was an honor bestowed to thieves. It was prepared for them.

Sounds terrible, until you consider what it means. It was prepared for them that they would hear mercy right from the Lord’s mouth. It was prepared that they would hear a sermon at the right hand of God. Paradise was prepared for at least one of them, too. They deserved to die because of their sins, but God prepared it so that they would receive mercy, even if He had to die between them to give it.

The Sons of Thunder would have hard lives that looked like Christ’s. That was prepared, too. Eventually, they would drink from the cup of suffering. But it was prepared that Jesus die for them first. That way they’re not alone in it. They were already brought through it. They were baptized, not just into Jesus’ pain, but His death, and so also His resurrection. You were, too. Do you not know that in Baptism, we are united with Him in His death? We will certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His, too. The Sons of Thunder went to death in boldness, not because they were the greatest tag team duo to grace the squared circle, but because they first received the gift of life. It was prepared for them. And it was prepared for you. You drank from it, too. In Baptism, you died with Jesus. In Baptism, you rise with Jesus. You might suffer more yet, but you are already raised with Him. Focus on the mercy, and know He’ll bring you through that, because He already died to accomplish it. It is prepared.

That shapes authority, too. Authority is a burden to the Christian. It’s not about power, but mercy. It’s not to be served but to serve. Authority is a gift. These are the places God has prepared to serve you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

 He brings me to the portal That leads to bliss untold, Whereon this rhyme immortal Is found in script of gold: “Who there My cross has shared Finds here a crown prepared; Who there with Me has died Shall here be glorified.” (“Awake, My Heart, with Gladness” LSB 467, st.7)

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch