February 24, 2016
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the Twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”
Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, “What do you wish?” She answered him, “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom.” Mt_20:17-28
Sometimes, it seems, there are gaps in communication that just cannot be bridged. Jesus was sharing His deepest thoughts with His disciples, about His passion, death and resurrection. He did this, both, so that they would not be blind-sighted when it all happened, and, in order to help them understand the gravity of their situation and the urgency of listening very closely to what He was trying to tell them.
We might have expected their response to be one of disbelief,
or else their need and desire to figure out some way to help Jesus,
some way to prevent this terrible thing from ever happening (which Peter actually did in another Gospel account). But instead of caring about what Jesus said, the response of the disciples here was one of total self-centeredness. It was as though, they never heard a word that Jesus said, because they were so lost in their own thoughts and concerns – about fame and glory.
Instead of thinking, “What can I do for you,” they were worried about “What’s in it for me?”
Have you ever had that happen to you, brothers and sisters? You finally think you have someone you can totally confide in with all your deepest secrets and needs, someone who would actually care. And when you truly opened-up to them, all you got in response was babble about their own problems. By the time they were done, you ended up feeling even worse than you did before you said anything, because, inside you felt that you’d been fooled by the insincerity of their friendship, and it seemed they really didn’t care at all.
We hear the same thing happening to the Prophet Jeremiah today. Here were these people who Jeremiah was defending against God’s wrath, and they were the very ones who were trying to have HIM killed. Jeremiah’s defensive response was to pray to God, since he knew that God is always faithful to His devoted children. And the gap in communication between Jeremiah and his unfaithful friends would never be bridged, save for the intervention of God.
Jesus’ response to the uncaring request of his disciples was
a little different. Instead of pressing His point or getting upset at their insensitivity, Jesus used the communication gap, as a teaching moment. He used it to teach His disciples, and us, about Servant Leadership.
He said in God’s Kingdom, it’s not about how great we are, but
it’s about how much we can do for the other fellow, for our neighbor, because of our love for them. And then, with another very cunning twist of topics, Jesus brought the conversation all the way back to how He, being the model, would even go as far – in His Servant Leadership – to give His very Life for that ‘other fellow,’ for all of us!
And with that delicate twist in communication, Jesus answered their insensitive request, without even hurting feelings very much. And by bringing the topic back to His passion and death, Jesus bridged the communication gap in a very subtle way!
Somewhere, a long, long time ago, humanity created a huge gap
between themselves and God. And God knew that the gap could only be bridged with a subtle twist in teaching methods.
You see, God could have, just as well eliminated all the insensitive, and non-listening people on the earth. But that’s not God’s way. There is just too much Love in God, to harm even the worst of us.
So instead of shouting with fire and sword, God sent us Jesus, His subtle answer to bridging our communication gap . . .
Jesus, who looked just like us.
Jesus, who lived just like us.
And Jesus who, without even breaking a bent reed, would show
us what God’s Love really is, and how we too, can bridge all gaps, in communication, through the sincerity of our Love for one another.
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