Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Why we Cannot Make Deals with God (Mark 10:35–40)

Daily Lenten Reflection - Monday, 13 March 2017

Week 3: Salvation—Not for Sale

Week 3, Day 2

“A Modern Anglican Collect for Christmas Day”

Almighty God, you wonderfully created

and yet more wonderfully restored our human nature. 

May we share the divine life of your Son Jesus Christ, 

who humbled himself to share our humanity,

and now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Why we Cannot Make Deals with God (Mark 10:35–40)

Sifiso Ivalinda Sithole, Anglican, Swaziland

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 

The first chapter of Genesis explains how God created the universe (vv. 1—26) and humanity (v. 27). This means that God owns the entire universe, including us. We own absolutely nothing. Instead, we are wholly dependent on God just as children are dependent on their parents. Furthermore, Job 1:21 points out “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return.” Therefore, deal-making with God is not a practice of the kingdom of God and deal-making assumes that we possess something God needs and is longing to have.

Being created in God’s own image (Gen 1:27) we are spiritual beings housed in physical bodies and mortal. We rely on God’s Word for spiritual uplifting as believers so that one day we can become Christlike. Through the inheritance of our sinful nature from Adam and Eve, we are born sinners and must repent in order to see God one day. Romans 10:9 reminds us that we need to confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, and then we will be saved. “You have been born anew, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Pet 23). This forms the firm foundation for our spiritual growth and development. Salvation is priceless since Jesus paid the price when he was crucified in Calvary.

God’s love is abundant, continual and unconditional as documented in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” We live by the grace of God, whose mercy endures forever. God is sovereign and gracious. It is only through seeking first God’s kingdom and righteousness that all these things will be given to us as well (Mt 6:33). God likes us to grow towards fulfillment of our lives. As we reflect on these truths, let us appreciate God’s grace and that Christ is our intercessor through whom we can one day see God.

“On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Anglican-Lutheran International Coordinating Committee has compiled a collection of Lenten reflections to commemorate the anniversary. The text can be used by small groups or individual, as a Lenten reading or as a resource for the weeks between Easter and Trinity Sunday. We are sharing these reflections daily during Lent, hoping that our common experience of God’s grace may draw our two families of churches closer together in this extraordinary year, and be used beyond 2017 and actually at any time.”