In reading Mark 10:35-45 today, I began to wonder, and, frankly, speculate about who really is sitting at Jesus' right hand. In that story, the brothers James and John asked Jesus if they could sit at his right hand. What they wanted, of course, was earthly power because they thought Jesus was going to establish an earthly kingdom. Jesus doesn't tell them that they are wrong about the kingdom, but that they are wrong about the role of power.
However, I got off on speculating about who sits with Jesus. My first thought was that it might be Mary and Joseph, two important people in Jesus' life. Then I thought about the Transfiguration and reasoned that maybe it was Moses or Elijah. I even considered Judas as an example of what a forgiving Father God is. In the text, though, Jesus seems to imply that whoever it is will be someone who is a martyr. Perhaps Peter?
Could it be a rotating position with all the saints getting a turn? I don't know. Who would you nominate for sitting next to Jesus?
"I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!" (Revelation 1:18). Some years ago it was proclaimed, "God is dead." Hardly. Imagine the surprise of the people who said this to find, upon their own death, that not only is God not dead but neither are they. We live eternally either with God or without God. Our choice lies not in living eternally or dying, but in how we will spend that eternity.
For Reflection: Many of us live day-to-day, not looking too far into the future. Christianity calls us to take the long view, looking toward eternity. Where are my choices leading me? (For further reflection see Romans 6:8-10, Revelation 4:9-10, Colossians 1:18.)
Let us pray. Jesus, you are the Living One, the firstborn over all creation, the firstborn from the dead. You are before all things and You have supremacy in all things. You are the head that holds the body together. You live and reign for ever and ever!
It is hard to imagine living under persecution for being Christian (or any faith belief), but Christians have the words of Jesus who tells us to "fear not." That's much easier said than done; however, I think Jesus meant it.
If we know that when we die we will spend eternity in the Kingdom of God, then we need not fear death. So for Christians fear should not arise from death itself. Many of us, though, may fear what comes before death - suffering or pain. Is Jesus telling us not to fear suffering or pain?
Well, Scripture says that perfect love (God) casts out all fear (1 John 4:18), but it appears to me that verse is meant for the day of judgment. If we consider Jesus' agony in the garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42; Matthew 26:36-46), Jesus is concerned about something. But what is it that overwhelms him? Is it death itself? or the pain of the whipping and crucifixion to come? or the weight of the sins of the world?
For reflection: Honestly, I don't know but I don't think it was the prospect of death itself that caused Jesus such anguish. I think it was either the physical pain to come or the weight of the sins of the world. What do you think?
Let us pray. Jesus, only you know what the persecuted Christians around the world are facing. We thank you for being with them in their time of testing and temptation, and we thank you for holding them like the Good Shepherd you are. Strengthen their faith in the face of the enemy. May your Name be always in their minds, and on their lips and in their hearts.
Some time back we looked at the beginning of Paul's letter to the Ephesians. In chapter 1 he tells us that the Father raised Jesus from the dead to sit at his right hand in heaven. In chapter 2 we learn that we were raised with him by being baptized into his death and resurrected with him so that we too sit in the heavens with Jesus and the Father. So we must learn to sit with him, learn who we are, and see things from his perspective before we begin to do anything else.
In chapter 4 Paul tells us we must learn how to walk on this earth in a way that is worthy of our calling and gives evidence of who we are. We must walk as people who are humble, gentle and patient. We must walk in unity with one another, at peace because we are one in the spirit and one in the body of Christ. We have one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God who is Father of all.
For reflection: Does my daily walk reflect who I am in Christ?
Let us pray. Jesus, your walk was not easy even though you, above all people, knew who you were. I am not as confident in who I am, and not as confident in my walk. Please light my path more brightly.
We are special people in Christ. Because of God's great love for us we were brought to life in Christ even though we were dead in sin. That's quite a trade. We traded being dead in sin for being alive in Christ. God is the only one who can bring us from death to life. Just as the Father raised Jesus from the dead and set him at his right hand in heaven, He also raised us from death and seated us in the heavenly realms with Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6).
Is Paul conflating the present with the future? We are alive now and will be seated with Christ in heaven. Or does he say this because, since there is no time with God, we are simultaneously alive in Christ on earth and seated with him in heaven? If we look back to 1:3, Paul says the Father has "blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." We are blessed in the heavenly realms, we are seated in the heavenly realms.
For Reflection: If we are currently blessed and seated in the heavenly realms, what does that mean?
Let us pray. Our Father, Heavenly Father, we do praise your name. You are mighty on our behalf, raising us from death to life, from earth to heaven. You keep us close to you, sitting with you. We are blessed. We are blessed.
I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.