Aspirations

They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way. The disciples were surprised that he was making this journey, while those who followed were filled with foreboding.

Taking the twelve to one side, Jesus began once again to tell them what was going to happen to him.

“Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to death and then hand him over to the Romans, who will mock him, spit on him, flog him, and kill him. But three days later he will rise again.”

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, spoke to him privately.

“Teacher,” they said, “we would like you to do us a favour.”

“What’s that?” he asked.

“When you sit on your glorious throne,” they said, “we want to sit in the places of honour next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”

“You don’t know what you are asking,” said Jesus. “Can you drink the same bitter cup of suffering I’m about to drink? Can you undergo the same baptism of suffering I must undergo?”

“Yes, we can,” they said.

Then Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink my cup and be baptized with my baptism, but it isn’t for me to decide who will sit on my right or my left. These places belong to those for whom they’ve been prepared.”

When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked for, they were indignant. So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as the rulers of this world lord it over their people, and their officials exercise their authority over those who are under them, but among you it must be different. Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be the servant of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

They reached Jericho and made their way through it. As Jesus and his disciples were leaving the city, with a large crowd following them, they passed a blind man called Bartimaeus (which means ‘son of Timaeus’) who was sitting beside the road begging. When he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was nearby, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Many of the crowd rebuked him and told him to be silent, but he only shouted louder, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped and said, “Ask him to come here.”

Then those beside Bartimaeus said to him, “It’s alright! Get up! He’s calling you!” So the blind man threw his cloak aside, jumped up, and went to Jesus.

“What is it that you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked.

“Lord,” said Bartimaeus, “I want to be able to see!”

“You can go now,” said Jesus, “because your faith has healed you.”

In that instant, Bartimaeus’ sight was restored and he followed Jesus along the road.

Mark

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