March 8, 2013 - Friday of Oculi

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 40:1-23; Mark 10:32-52

They said to Him, "Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory." (Mark 10:37)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. “Oculi. My eyes are ever toward the Lord,” especially when we might get to call “shotgun” and get those awesome spots next to Jesus in His glory! James and John didn't really have their eyes on Jesus but on themselves, and they were eyeing what they thought were positions of authority and power. But those positions at Jesus' right and left were not for them. Those positions were left for two thieves between whom Jesus was crucified.

We'd like to think our eyes are toward the Lord but usually they are just toward ourselves or the things that will benefit us. There are lots of things that attract our attention and turn our eyes from Jesus. Beating out a friend for the position on the team. Getting that person to go out with you instead of someone else. Being liked better at work than the other kid. Whatever advantage we can find, whatever position with some chance to laugh at or lord it over others, that's where our eyes go.

But the glory of Jesus is not that He shines in glory and gets to boss everyone around. Jesus' glory is that He dies for sinners. Crucified. Crowned with thorns. Hated and mocked. Despised and rejected. Then no eyes wanted to see Jesus, at least not in a good way. They looked upon Him but with scorn and mockery. Yet it is precisely that horrible death that rescues us from the love of ourselves—from our sins.

You have been given a place with Jesus. Not a place from which you can look down on others but a place where you can be recognized by God as being pure and holy for Jesus' sake. By your baptism into Christ, you have been seated with Jesus in heavenly places. You are with Him in His glory because His glory is to forgive your sins.

The day will come when you will join James and John and all the saints in the paradise of everlasting life. That's because it is the glory of Jesus to save sinners and give them everlasting life. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

May we in our guilt and shame Still Your love and mercy claim, Calling humbly on Your name: Hear us, holy Jesus. (Jesus, In Your Dying Woes, LSB 447:5)

This reflection is available as an mp3, click here to download and listen to it.