Jesus Calls Us to Abandon Worldly Ambition
These are the readings for the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost.
God’s Word for This Week
Sinners sin. We all sin. But we cannot excuse our sin because we act like others. Sin requires radical surgery. Jesus says: “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off” (Mark 9:43). The good news is that Jesus was “cut off” from his own Father through his death on the cross, in order to reunite us with God and with one another. As his servants we are the “salt” of the earth, standing out as we show allegiance to Jesus and the gospel.
First Lesson – Numbers 11:16, 24-29
When Moses, exasperated, turned to God because the Israelites were complaining about having to eat manna all the time, how did God first respond? (See 11:16.)
Moses receives mercy in the leadership department: Now 70 men will help him lead the nation. But the people get their wish for meat and a plague with it for grumbling against the Lord.
Why did a young man run and tell Moses about Eldad and Medad, who were still in the camp?
A young man ran and told Moses about Eldad and Medad because they were prophesying in the camp, instead of around the tent like the other elders. Joshua told Moses to have them stop.
Why didn’t Moses want Eldad and Medad to stop?
Moses didn’t want them to stop because he wished that all God’s people were prophets with the Spirit on them.
Traditional Second Lesson – James 4:7-12
What does James mean to “submit to God”?
It simply means arrange yourself under God’s authority. That will include the resolve to resist the devil, the world and our own sinful nature—all of which are God’s and Christians’ mortal enemies.
What promise is given to those disciples who humble themselves?
God promises to “lift up” those who humble themselves and submit to his will. Christian humility includes submitting to God, resisting the devil, coming near to God, forsaking sinful deeds and thoughts, and acknowledging one’s sinfulness.
Supplemental Second Lesson – Philippians 1:12-18a
What had happened to Paul, which surprisingly turned out to advance the gospel’s spread?
Paul was under house arrest in Rome for a long time.
How did Paul react when others preached Christ out of envy and rivalry?
Paul said, “The important thing is that in every way Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.”
Gospel – Mark 9:38-50
What prompted John to tattle to Jesus about a miracle worker that was not one of the Twelve?
Perhaps John was jealous. John said the disciples stopped the man because he “was not one of us.” Do we look down on one other Christians who are not part of our church body? Jesus said, “Do not stop him … whoever is not against us is for us.” Likewise, we confess in the Nicene Creed that we believe in one, holy Christian apostolic church.
Summarize the obligations of disciples for one another according to Mark 9:42-50.
A disciple will do everything possible to save the life of the soul. Participation in Christ’s kingdom is worth any sacrifice. The hand will not grasp what God forbids. The foot will not go where God’s “No Trespassing” sign stands. The eye will not gaze on that which God hates. Keep your “saltiness” by living for the gospel and Christ Jesus.