TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3
“They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” “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?” “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,”
Mark 10:37-39 (NIV)
CHASING GREATNESS: BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR
On her 60th birthday, a woman from Brooklyn decided to prepare her last will and testament. She went to her rabbi to make two final requests: First, she insisted on cremation. “What is your second request?” the rabbi asked. “I want my ashes scattered over the mall.” “The mall. Why over the mall?” the rabbi said. “Then I’ll be sure that my daughters visit me twice a week.”
That was without a doubt an unusual request. And so was the request that James and John made in Mark 10. As Jesus is approaching Jerusalem to be tortured and crucified, the disciples ask for greatness in His Kingdom. Jesus responds by telling them that partly what they are asking for is a “cup” of sorrow and a “baptism” of suffering. Jesus also responds, “You will drink.” James was going to be the 1st of the 12 disciples to lose his life for Christ. In Acts 12:1-2 we learn, “It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.” John was most likely the last of the 12 disciples to die. He most likely died of natural causes isolated on the island of Patmos after suffering many persecutions.
God used James and John to accomplish great things that we still read about today. And God wants to use us to accomplish great things. But often that greatness has a cost. Hebrews 12:2 tells us “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus knew the joy of seeing people saved and coming home to God was worth it all. We too should keep in mind what Jesus did to accomplish great things for our joy and salvation as we follow His example. What great things are you asking God to do in your life? Ask God how He wants to use you in the process of accomplishing those great things.