Is This Your Drink?
"Can you drink the cup . . . ?" Mark 10:38
Greatness in Christ’s kingdom is not about talent and ability. Jesus explains gently and patiently to His disciples that they are ignorant of what their request really involves, so Jesus proceeds to enlighten them. The cup refers to the bitter contents of suffering; to drink means to accept and endure the suffering. He was to be mocked, endure verbal abuse, to be scourged. He endured physical abuse and was crucified, to endure public humiliation. And any who want to be a success must be sacrificial.
Jesus asks "Can you bear to go through the terrible experience I have to go through?" "Can you face being submerged in hatred, pain and death?" Jesus is saying there can be no crown without the cross. The standard of greatness in the kingdom is the cross. The price is steep.
It takes one’s breath away to hear the disciples answer "we are able." They did not realize what the cup meant. Their optimism is mixed with over-confidence about the test they will face. There is a difference between confidence and faith. Confidence underestimates the size and the power of the enemy’s attack. Faith knows there will be pain, but looks beyond the stress and strain, and sees the resources of heaven. Faith is the healthy combination of vision and valor.
The disciples were ready for the conflict in general, however, they had not thought through the specifics. It's the details that test our claim to "be able." We say "we are able," thinking of life as heroic discipleship, but we are not ready for the repetition of tiresome, tedious, daily demands that requires we live faithfully.
The small things are harder to resist than big frontal attacks. We are not ready for the present, because it has no glamour or greatness about it. We say "we are able," yet, we are not ready for our life to be completely upset. The cross always upsets our world.
Is this your drink? Are you sharing in the heart of Jesus? Read Galatians 2:20.