Oh, sons of Zebedee. Matthew suggested your momma was behind this move for power but Mark was certain you were strong enough men to make your own case. The other disciples we frustrated with you two – whether it was because they wished they had thought of it first or because they couldn’t believe you still hadn’t really understood the whole teaching on “the first shall be last” concept Jesus had been teaching. No matter, you put yourselves in a position that wasn’t the one you sought.
The sons of Zebedee, James and John, had just heard another reminder from Jesus of His coming death. They felt their world spinning out of control and chose to make a grab at some sort of control. How do you react to uncertainty? The unknown triggers different reactions in different hearts and exposes our soul’s defaults. In response to a yet-unnamed but imminent storm, some hide, some run, some live in denial, some escape into fictional worlds, some feast and some, like James & John, stake out their territory. Our defaults by and large are self-serving.
To change our defaults, we must address our theology of uncertainty. And to address our theology of uncertainty, we must befriend mystery. Do you remember how exciting mysteries were when we were kids? As adults, we often just see mysteries as yet another thing to solve and don’t wonder in amazement at them.
Today we are challenged to fast from avoidance. Look carefully at your life and examine times when you’ve used avoidance as a coping mechanism.
Our reading today was John 13:31-36.
31-32 When he had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is seen for who he is, and God seen for who he is in him. The moment God is seen in him, God’s glory will be on display. In glorifying him, he himself is glorified—glory all around!
33 “Children, I am with you for only a short time longer. You are going to look high and low for me. But just as I told the Jews, I’m telling you: ‘Where I go, you are not able to come.’
34-35 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.”
36 Simon Peter asked, “Master, just where are you going?”
Jesus answered, “You can’t now follow me where I’m going. You will follow later.”