Proper 24 – Year B

Job 38:1-7, (34-41; Psalm 104:1-9, 25,37b; (or Isaiah 53:4-12; Psalm 91:9-16); Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:35-45

“I have been feeling very much lately that cheerful insecurity is what our Lord asks of us.” – C.S. Lewis

                James and John, searching for security, ask Jesus if they could sit on his right and left when he comes into his glory (Mark 10:37).  He tells them that those positions were reserved for others (Mark 10:40).  Little did they realize that those others were the two thieves and Jesus’ glory was the cross.  Were James and John a bit presumptuous?  We spoke before about arrogance and thinking ourselves better than others.  But what is the other side of the coin.  Insecurity and poor self-image are much more rampant in our society than arrogance.  We sometimes come across as haughty, egotistical or conceited because deep down we are unsure of yourselves.  We neurotically strive to be first because deep down we don’t believe we are valuable and loved.  Therefore, we have to prove that we are of worth.  We are crying out for love and acceptance.  It is a real cry, so bottomless that we may not even be aware of the inner tears.  We have a low grade sadness that makes us yearn to sit at the right and left of power.  Who are James and John?  We are.  But the good news Jesus brings us is that we are loved and totally unreservedly accepted by God.  When we know this we do not need to compete.  We can serve (Mark 10:43-45).  Let’s face it, even when we do believe this, the insecurities will not necessarily go away over night.  In the meantime we can laugh at ourselves and cheerfully move on (Lewis quote above).


                Mark 10:37 and 40 both speak of sitting on the right and the left.  The word in verse 37 simply means the “left.”  However, in verse 40 the word usually translated “left” actually means “of good name,” which was a euphemism for “on the left.”  Using this word makes the left important rather than a second rate place.


We may be at right.

Left we may be of good name.

If neither, still loved.