Saturday, March 3, 2012

Participating with Christ





Scripture

But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
(Mark 10:38 NASB)
They said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized.
(Mark 10:39 NASB)
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
(Mark 10:45 NASB)

Observation

The disciples had been arguing about being on Jesus' team and who was going to get to sit next to him in his kingdom. The problem was that they didn't really understand what that kingdom was going to be like. It was an "upside-down" kingdom and Jesus, himself, was pointing the way and living the life of a servant leader. Therefore, those who would participate with him in the kingdom were to be prepared to to drink the cup that he would drink. It was a bitter cup of rejection. There was the promise of the baptism, and the disciples could not even begin to imagine what that looked like. But finally, they weren't going to be sitting at the head tables at events. They weren't going to be the ones that received the honors, they were going to be the ones who served everyone else. That's what it meant to participate in the kingdom which Jesus was ushering in.

Application

When we read this passage of scripture we may think, "Those silly disciples -- didn't they 'get' it?" That's because we are able to look at the whole story, but they could only see the past and that very moment. But what about us? Do we also just see the past and this very moment? Is it too difficult for us to imagine what future participation in Christ's kingdom may look like?

We are called to participate with Christ in his kingdom today, and forever. So, we must be prepared to participate in his sufferings. This is a difficult world and there are struggles out there and we are to unite with Christ at getting involved in the difficult things of this world. What does that look like? It may be different for each and every one of us but it may be standing up for the needy and the marginalized. Along the way you, yourself, may be bashed, but so was Jesus. It's not about being popular or accepted, it's about being Jesus to our world. It's not about acceptance in an earthly kingdom, but about being an active member in the eternal kingdom.

We are not called upon to do this on our own, but by the very baptism which Christ himself had. Therefore, by participating in Christ, we are baptized in the power of the Holy Spirit who empowers us for the calling which we have received. We can't do all of this on our own. Even Jesus understood this. He often spent hours in prayer and was empowered by the Holy Spirit. The promise is for us as well that we may be filled to the full and empowered by the Holy Spirit to become engaged in the world, just as Jesus was.

Finally, we are here on this earth to be servants. We are servants of Jesus Christ, but we are also to be servants to the world around us. Take note of those who need a touch of Jesus today. How can you serve them? Participate with Jesus today by being willing to wash the feet of those around you. Yes, sometimes they're pretty dirty and ugly and they may get you dirty, but that's what we're called to do.
The Christian walk is a call to participation with Jesus Christ in his upside-down kingdom. Are you willing?

Prayer

Lord, I want to be willing to participate with you in the kingdom. Lead me on the journey and help me to slow down and wash feet along the way. Amen.

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