Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 97; 147:12-20, 2 Samuel 15:1-18, Acts 21:27-36, Mark 10:32-45
Jesus wanted the disciples to be prepared for what was to come. In very plain language he predicted his death three times, yet the disciples did not seem to understand. On the third occasion he said:
See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again.
In the very next paragraph, “James and John […] said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’” They asked to sit at his right and left hands in paradise. Jesus had to decline, but it seems gracious that he humored them at all considering what he’d told just them. One paragraph following the next doesn’t mean quite a bit of time couldn’t have elapsed between them, but asking favors after that seems a little … self-involved.
Yet we can all be self-involved. Our calling is to follow Christ and share him with others, but some of the most popular Christian books and preachers focus on the “name it and claim it” gospel which teaches what Jesus can do for us. Church is for worshipping our God, but we often choose one based more on how good it makes us feel than how it challenges us to grow in the radical love and humility Christ requests of his disciples.
We don’t find that “peace which passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) by praying for trouble-free lives, but by following Jesus wherever he leads, including enemy territory. And that “perfect love which casts out fear” (1 John 4:18)? It doesn’t sprout in hearts that play it safe; we first must face the fear of loving those we find unlovable.
Following Christ is its own reward. Step by step we are transformed and grow less concerned about what Christ can do for us, and more about how we can serve him.
Comfort: Following Christ transforms us.
Challenge: Keep a journal about how following Christ changes you.
Prayer: Loving God, I set my face towards Christ. May my discipleship glorify your name. Amen.
Discussion: What’s the difference between a selfish prayer, and a prayer for yourself?
Join the discussion! If you enjoyed this post, feel free to join an extended discussion as part of the C+C Facebook group. You’ll be notified of new posts through FB, and have the opportunity to share your thoughts with some lovely people. Or feel free to comment here on WordPress, or even re-blog – the more the merrier!