“… For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)




fifth sunday in lent

Sermon Starter

The celebration of St. Patrick’s Day brings to mind the old legend of the leprechauns which, if caught, are obligated to give you their pot of gold. And we’ve all heard the story of Aladdin and his magic lamp, where the genie offered Aladdin three wishes. Such stories, obviously, are fairy-tales. But, imagine what it would be like to have that opportunity for real—to be able to ask anything you wanted from the one true source that really is able to fulfill any of your wishes.

That is the opportunity that was granted to the two brothers, James and John, in the Gospel reading today. They approach the Son of God and say, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And there it is!  The door is wide open. They have been given the opportunity of the lifetime! Jesus has just granted them the chance to have their greatest wishes fulfilled.

And what do they do with that opportunity? They squander it. “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

Now, to many, that would hardly seem like squandering. To be granted such positions of glorious honor would no doubt have its perks—power, prestige, wealth, and so on. To ask to sit at the Lord’s right hand and at His left was a calculated request on their parts. It was an opportunity to get everything that they ever wished for all rolled up in one simple request. I’m sure that it was something to which they gave a great deal of thought. And, in fact, based upon the other Gospel accounts we hear that their own mother was in on the idea as well—for those other accounts have her actually making the request to Jesus on behalf of her sons.

But the three of them had no idea of what they were asking; because they didn’t understand what it meant to be a part of the Lord’s kingdom. All of the kingdoms that they were used to were the kinds, as was mentioned before, that were replete with power, wealth, and majesty.

And it’s not like Jesus hadn’t clarified the state of His kingdom.

Collect of the Day

Almighty God, by Your great goodness mercifully look upon Your people that we may be governed and preserved evermore in body and soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.