Who doesn't love a good story? Narrative is an integral part of who we are and how we think. Narrative takes a group of facts and puts them in a comprehensible order so we can understand the point, whatever the point may be, and then to be able to use that point in our daily lives. Just look at the Bible. It's God's word and His plan for salvation, given to us, with a few notable exceptions, in narrative form. If it's good enough for God, it's probably good enough for you.
Write your stories, or dust off the ones you've already written, and send them to us. We'll post them here and the world will benefit from it.
A SLIGHTLY MODIFIED VERSION OF MARK 10:13-45
by Daniel W. Shegrud
Our story actually comes from Mark 10:35-45, but before we can understand the dynamics of that passage, we must first understand the back story that begins in verse 13.
Jesus and his disciples are out and about doing ministry things and Jesus is blessing the children. He tells the disciples that unless a person becomes as a little child they cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
Later, as Jesus and the disciples were heading down the road, a rich young man ran up and asked how he could be saved. Jesus said to keep all the commandments. The young man replied, ‘No sweat, been doing that all my life.” Then Jesus tell him, “yes, but you are rather self-conceited. Get rid of all your stuff and follow me.” The young man says, “no can do” and walks away. Jesus tells his followers that it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter heaven.
The people were like “Wha…?” and ask, “if a man who keeps all the commandments and is blessed by God with riches can’t get into heaven, what are we supposed to do?” Jesus tells them that with humans it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.
Then Peter, putting two and two together and getting six, as usual, blurts out, “in that case, we twelve must have it made, because we gave up everything to follow you.” Jesus responds that Peter missed a point or two. He says that whatever is given up for him will be restored a hundred fold or better, either in this life or in the life to come. He then goes on to point out that in heaven, many who are considered great here on earth will be considered the least there, and many who are considered the least here will be considered the greatest there.
And the twelve were like “Wha…!?”
As they are walking to Jerusalem, Jesus turns around and says to the twelve, “oh, by the way, when we get there, I’ll be arrested, tortured and executed, but not to worry, because I’ll come back to life three days later.”
Most of the twelve are now all like “wha…!?!”
James and John, however, are the sons of thunder, and their mother was a conniving and manipulating sort who would have made a great stage mother, so they put their heads together and compared notes.
Let’s see – we must be as little children to enter heaven. We’re definitely immature. Check!
We have to give away all we have and follow Jesus. Check!
We can’t earn our way to heaven, and only God can save us, and Jesus is the son of God. Close enough. Check!
We deserve greatness after all we’ve been through the last couple of years, and in order to be the greatest in heaven we have to be the least here. Well, there aren’t too many people leaster than us. Check!
Then they realized that they had a golden opportunity to leverage their advantage, but they also realized they’d have to act fast, because Jesus had just told them that he was about to be killed.
And this is where our story starts.
James and John, Jesus and the other ten are all together, and James and John, or J1 and J2 since we're not really who exactly said what, sidle up to Jesus and whisper in his ear.
J1 – Oy, gov’ner, me brother and me have a favor to ask of you.
Jesus – yes?
J1 – when we’re all together in heaven and you’re walking around doing your son of God thing, we were thinking, perhaps, that you could choose us to be your right hand man.
Jesus – I can’t have two right hand mans.
J1 – that’s just logistics, is that. I’ll be the right hand man and me brother will be the left.
J2 – I don’t want to be the left. I want to be the right. You can be the left.
J1 – but I’m older, so by rights I should have the right.
J2 – maybe so, but I’m bigger than you and can best you a fair in round of take-me-down.
J1 – alright then, we’ll take turns.
J2 – fine, as long as I get to be the right hand man first.
J1 – now see here…
Jesus – gentlemen, let me see if I have this straight. You want me to give you the highest seats of honor in heaven?
J1 – no, no, no. That seats belong to you, free and clear.
J2 – that’s right. We just want the second highest.
Jesus – and you think you can drink the same bitter cup I’m about to drink?
J1 – bitters? You want to talk about bitters? I’ve been drinking bitter ale since I was a lad. Just before I met you , I drank a bitter ale so foul
I almost couldn’t drink it, but I done it.
J2 – drank it down to the bottom, he did.
Jesus – you two are kind of clueless, aren’t you?
J1 – eh now, no need for verbal fisticuffs.
J2 – we just want to sit next to you in heaven.
Jesus – here’s the problem: I can’t do that.
J2 – what does he mean he can’t do that? Is he having us on?
J1 – I don’t know. What do you mean you can’t do that? You’re the son of God, you can do anything you want.
Jesus – well, yes, theologically speaking, but those spots aren’t mine to give. God has already decided who is going to get them.
J1 – oh, why didn’t you just say so.
J2 – would have saved us a lot of trouble.
Now, James and John thought they had been putting one over on their friends, but the other ten have been eavesdropping on this conversation and they are indignant.
Ten – "What right do they have to ask for the highest place of honor."
"I’m lesser than they are – I should be greater."
"Well, I’m the least of all, so I should be the greatest."
"Hardly. I’m far leaster than you, so the right hand spot is mine by rights."
"Leaster? I’ll show you leaster."
"I think you’re all bonky."
"That’s really not helping, Judas.”
Jesus – gentlemen, allow me to explain something. You know how the government and religious leaders are always so pompous and domineering? In my kingdom, that is not going to happen. If you want to be a great leader you must first be a great follower.
Ten – wha…?
Jesus – in my kingdom, if you want to be a master, you must be first be a slave to all.
Ten – "A what?"
"I ain’t nobody’s slave, I’m a fisherman."
"Has he gone daft."
"Too much praying, not enough sleeping, says I."
"I think he’s gone bonky."
"Do keep still, Judas."
Jesus – look at me, look at how I’m doing things. You call me the messiah, but I’m not here so you can do work for me; I’m here because there is a work that needs to be done for you and only I can do it. I’m here to serve you, not to be served by you.’
Ten – "He does a right fine job of it, sure."
"He might have a point."
"I still think he’s bonky."
"Shut up Judas!"