Mark 10 v 41 - 45

Inevitably the actions of James and John aroused deep resentment amongst the other disciples. It is good to remind ourselves here that these men came from all walks of life and some would not normally have mixed with certain others. They had spent a long time on the road with Jesus and were generally a close-knit bunch, but in situations like this the natural divisions came to the forefront and it was vital that Jesus keep them together as a harmonious whole. He stops His walk and reminds them of their new obligations and commitments: no longer selfish ambition, but seeking the blessing of others in preference to themselves. The idea of greatness in the pagan world in the time of Jesus was summed up by the Emperor Galba, who stated: ''Now I am Emperor I can do whatever I like and do it to anyone.'' The Kingdom of Jesus was to be built in complete contrast to the Kingdoms of this world and that is why the Name of Jesus is still known and worshiped by millions today and the name of Galba is known by just a few!

The words of Jesus here: ''The Son of Man came to give His life as a ransom for many'' indicates the sacrificial and utterly complete love of our Lord and we cannot start to begin some kind of atonement theology based on these words. We can know only that it cost Jesus His life to bring us back to God, the cost of our salvation was the cross of Christ. Just as when someone states that freedom can only be obtained at the price of blood and tears, we don't then wonder to whom that is being paid: so with Jesus it in no way indicates that God the Father demanded a payment in blood from His dearly beloved Son or, even more erroneously, that a payment was required from the devil! Cold theology produces statements such as this from a twelfth century believer: 'The cross was a mousetrap to catch the devil, baited with the blood of Christ'. Be careful what you read and question it, just as you should do with my words in this blog and my spoken words in my preaching.

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