As followers of Jesus, we take part in rites that may seem like rituals to the others. Maybe they also seem like rituals to us too. The rites of Communion and Baptism are not only rites that we participate in, they are also rites that we are called to live out each day!
Mark 10:38-40 (TNIV)
38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” 39 “We can,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
What is Jesus asking when he ask the disciples, indeed………when he ask us, “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” To drink Jesus’ cup and to be baptized with his baptism meant more than just taking part in a ritual; it also meant taking up his mission and his sufferings.
How do we do that today?
When we take on the mission of Christ, loving God, showing others how to love God, showing others how much God loves them, and loving others….. we are a part of God’s mission of the restoration of this world.
It’s not easy work, as we well know, being a good parent, a good spouse, a good teacher, a good student, a good employee or even being a good boss just isn’t an easy task. But all of these things are a part of God’s mission that we often take for granted.
Caring for others that are less fortunate than us, being generous, being an active part in helping others heal by lending an ear or a hand. …..it’s not easy for us….it can even seem like a struggle. But again, all of these things are a part of God’s mission that we often take for granted.
Showing others through your actions the love of our loving Father……these things aren’t exactly easy, are they?
What I find interesting is that in personal suffering, we often find healing. Sometimes we think that what we are doing is going to a tough pill to swallow when actually…..it is a blessing or leads to blessing.
Good examples are like when you are honest with your spouse or wife when it would be easier to lie; when you must discipline your children when it would seem be easier to simply appease them; when you pay more because you are honest rather than less because you are dishonest; when we serve the poor and those less fortunate than us when it’s easier only to think of our own needs. I am sure you can think of many examples.
When we do these things it may seem like we are averting suffering by doing the wrong thing, what we are actually doing is creating true suffering, in other words, we are actually inviting the consequences of our sin. This IS NOT what Jesus was talking about at all!
Struggling to always be honest in all things is actually a strength that God blesses. Disciplining our children out of our love for them is actually teaching them responsibility. It may be harder on us but it is best for them. This is actually a strength that God can bless. While there are times that being honest cost us more money, being honest keeps us from truly suffering the consequences of our dishonesty. And again, God can bless our honesty while he can’t bless our dishonesty. When we serve the poor and those less fortunate than us, we step outside our own selfish needs and meet the needs of others…..like Jesus did…..that is sacrifice! We are blessed and so are those who are the recipient of our kindness. The list goes on and on.
Jesus tells us clearly in Matthew 5:6 , “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
Here is the kicker….think about this……Jesus was indeed the suffering servant. Jesus suffered and died on the cross, he drank from the this cup of as a servant and one who would suffer for our sake, so that we could have this new life. And what was the result of jesus’ suffering? Jesus was glorified! he now sit’s on the throne as Savior and King in our lives.
Again……the last will be first and the first will be last.