"Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ,
let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation
of repentance from dead works
and of faith toward God,
of the teaching of immersions,
of laying on of hands,
of resurrection of the dead
and of eternal judgment ...," Hebrews 6'1-3.
"Remember the word that I said to you,
‘A servant is not greater than his master.’
If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you,"
Jesus' referred to being "immersed with the immersion that I am immersed with". He said it in the form of a question in answer to a question.
The initial question was to do with places of honour. He seemed to be asking something that was quite unrelated.
It all began with this:
"The mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him.
And He said to her, 'What do you wish?' She said to Him, 'Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.'
But Jesus answered and said, 'You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be immersed with the immersion that I am immersed with?'
They said to Him, 'We are able.'
So He said to them, 'You will indeed drink My cup, and be immersed with the immersion that I am immersed with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.'
And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers.
But Jesus called them to Himself and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them.
Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant.
And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave -
just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many'," Matthew 20'20-28.
What started off as a strange request, the Lord used to describe a unique kind of personal disposition - His own.
James and John could hardly have known what could be involved when they answered, "We are able".
Jesus' response to that was, "You will indeed drink My cup, and be immersed with the immersion that I am immersed with".
His "cup" and His "immersion" began when He was a child. His Father's will was His "cup" and doing it was His "immersion".
Back then He said, "Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2'42).
And much later He stated, "I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me," John 5'30.
Throughout history there have been those who did the same and found themselves enduring hardship. And for many it's the same today.
THE LORD'S EXAMPLE
Greatness as per the world was in the minds James and John. In contrast, Jesus had greatness as per Himself in mind, and example.
Kingdom life is not about lording over others Jesus said. If it's greatness a Believer wants, there's only one kind that is acceptable to God and He illustrated it on one particular occasion:
"So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, 'Do you know what I have done to you?
You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one anothers feet.
For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him'".
"If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them'," John 13'12-17.
There it is, blessing lies in doing "these things". The Lord's way to "greatness" is this:
- "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up," James 4'10.
Further to that:
- ".. all of you be submissive to one another
and be clothed with humility, for
'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.'
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God,
that He may exalt you in due time,
casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you," 1 Peter 5'5-6.
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
who, being in the form of God,
did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
but made Himself of no reputation,
taking the form of a bond servant,
and coming in the likeness of men.
And being found in appearance as a man,
He humbled Himself and became obedient
to the point of death,
even the death of the cross," Philippians 2'5-8.
When Believers do the will of the Father and find themselves antagonised for it the Holy Spirit gives a wonderful reminder that they are above it all:
"God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses,
made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus," Ephesians 2'4-6.
Jesus pleased His Father. For Believers, that's what New Covenant Kingdom living is all about.
"The Kingdom of God is ...
righteousness and peace and joy
in the Holy Spirit.
For he who serves Christ
in these things
is acceptable to God
and approved by men,"
Prayer. Thank you, Father, for what Jesus has achieved for His Called-Out People. Thank you, too, for His example and the power of the Holy Spirit for every Believer who follows Him.
In Jesus' name. Amen.