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Faith Daily | 25 July 2022

PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p565

O God, the protector of all that trust in you,

without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:

increase and multiply upon us your mercy,

that, with you as our ruler and guide,

we may so pass through things temporal

that we finally lose not the things eternal.

Grant this, O heavenly Father,

for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord.


GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 20: 20-28 JAMES, APOSTLE AND MARTYR

20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favour of him. 21And he said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said to him, ‘Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’ 22But Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?’* They said to him, ‘We are able.’ 23He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.’

24 When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. 25But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 26It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; 28just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’


The paradox of a servant king was difficult for the disciples to grasp. They have visions of Jesus entering Jerusalem to win a great victory. James, John and their mother go so far as to ask to share in the glory and honour that they are sure will be Jesus’ when he sits on his throne after a sweeping victory in Jerusalem. The other disciples are angry, perhaps not because of the outrageous nature of the request, but because James and John got in first. There is a sense here that they could all taste the sweetness of power and Jesus’ kingdom coming just around the corner.

However, Jesus upends all the usual ideas about royalty and nobility. God’s anointed king neither acted, nor was not treated, like “the rulers of the gentiles”. He did not live, or die, as expected of a king. Jesus alludes to Isaiah and his description of the king as servant, giving his life as a “ransom for many”. Jesus understood that his death would set humankind free.

The disciples can’t comprehend Jesus’ repeated warnings that it’s all going to be very different – that he is talking about being the servant of others and dying a horrible death. Crucifixion was the lowest form of capital punishment, reserved for slaves and rebels. The idea of a crucified Messiah was scandalous.

In his book, The Day the Revolution Began, Tom Wright discusses how Jesus’ crucifixion made all the difference to the world, a revolutionary end of one era and the beginning of another in which we became “restored human beings with a vocation to play a vital part in God’s purposes for the world.”

Unlike those early disciples, we have the benefit of perspective. We are the people of God, called to serve others, and to love God with all our heart, mind and strength.

FINAL PRAYER Collect Prayer for St James

Merciful God,

whose holy apostle Saint James,

leaving his parents and all that he had,

was obedient to the calling of your Son Jesus Christ

and followed him even to death:

help us, forsaking the false attractions of the world,

to be ready at all times to answer your call without delay;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.


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