It wasn’t long after Jesus told his disciples for the third time that they were going up to Jerusalem where he would suffer many things, be killed and after three days be raised to life, that Jesus’ disciples descended into jealousy over who would receive the greatest honor in the kingdom. Jesus used that occasion to teach them that it isn’t his way to lord it over others as their superior, someone better. But rather to serve as a lowly slave, even to the point of giving his life, in his case as a ransom for many. Earlier, after Jesus had told them the second time of his suffering, though they didn’t get it, they descended into squabbling over who would be the greatest.
We easily get caught up in comparing ourselves with others, either to wish we had something they have (hopefully not prestige, but position, etc.), or even as seeing ourselves as better than they. That is not love. Certainly not the love of the brethren prescribed for us as followers and believers in Christ.
In the case of the disciples of old, they let James and John, and specifically the request they made through their mother to sit at Jesus’ right hand and left at his kingdom as a place of honor, get under their skin, of course meaning they took it badly. But love of the brethren, or to love each other as brothers and sisters, as family, means something different. We should reject certain thoughts and attitudes and the actions which inevitably accompany them. Instead we’re to love each other, and to grow in that love.
Something for us to think about and be sensitive of, as we seek to prepare our hearts with repentance and prayer during this Lenten season.