July 18, 2021

The Power of the Powerless

Pastor KJ Kim

Mark 10: 35-45

Today’s passage, the Zebedee brothers, James and John, are thinking of a typical power like most of us.

Today’s passage, the Zebedee brothers, James and John, are thinking of a typical power like most of us.

In spite of Jesus’s dire predictions of his suffering and a certain death on the cross, James and John seemed convinced of Jesus’s final victory that they may sign up to go with him
and to sit close to him at the head table in a new world.

James and John seemed to believe that the bad guys at the head table would be removed, their chairs would be replaced. And God’s new crew would be seated with Jesus in the number-one position and the most loyal disciples of Christ on either side of him - one at his right hand and one at his left.

Once this change has been accomplished, then, the good people will commence to redeem the world, beginning from the top, in which it will be the ultimate trickle-down effect. This is what James and John may expect of what would happen when the new world would come.

Well, “It does not work that way,” Jesus told them one more time. According to Jesus, the new world would not be remotely like the old one. It would return the old one upside down.

In other transformed worlds, the number-ones at the head table are not powerful anymore. Instead, those who are quiet and refilling wine glasses and laying down clean silverware for the next course become powerful.

The great ones are not the ones to the left and right of the ruler. Rather, those who are the slaves of all and work in hidden and invisible places become the great ones.

Jesus’s teaching in today’s passage seems incomprehensible. Things simply do not work that way. But we as believers still believe that serving is how we will transform the world, not from the top down but from the bottom up.

That is the only power Jesus has given us. Therefore, God can be our strength when we are weak. God can instill hope in the hopeless. God can be light in the darkness. God can be peace in the conflict. And God can be powerful in the powerless.

This is the power what God has given us. And with this transforming power, we can turn James and John’s question upside down: “God, we want to do for you whatever you ask of us.”

Amen.