‘If the Sons set you free, you will be free indeed.’
The final journey to Jerusalem continues and today take on a dramatic configuration. Jesus uncharacteristically steps out ahead of the others. is he impatiently eager to reach his destination? Or does he wish to prepare in solitude for the horrendous death that awaits him? An uncanny sensation of awe descends on the band of travellers. The twelve follow at a distance, astonished. They feel something is different. The others in the party are gripped by fear. In this awesome context Jesus utters the third prediction of his passion once the disciples have caught up. Here Jesus is more explicit than in the first and second predictions, for he adds the information that, before being executed, he will be handed over to the Romans and be subjected to mockery and degrading cruelty.
In such circumstances how could James and John make such a worldly request. Perhaps they took Jesus’ predictions to refer to the terrible war that the Qumran community and other believed would precede the establishment of the Messiah’s kingdom. The other disciples become indignant–probably at James and John’s blatant opportunism more than their extraordinary insensitivity.
This prediction, like the first two, is followed by corrective teaching on the other-worldly values of discipleship. Jesus had already explained that to be great is to be humble like a child. Now he makes the point that the destiny of the great Son of Man is not to be waited upon, but to serve and give his life as a ransom that would set many free. The ransom image, which implies substitution, i one of several graphic metaphors in the New Testament that help us understand the death of Jesus. Pause to thank Jesus for dying in your place. Praise him for freeing you from your sins.
Take time to meditate on the great freedom you have because Jesus gave his life as a ransom for you.