Word For The Day By Christian Education Forum
BAPTISM ON THE CROSS
This passage describes the request of James and John, which is related to power. Jesus gives a new interpretation to power and discipleship. It happens before Jesus’ triumphant entry in to Jerusalem and the
subsequent trial, tribulation and death.
James and John demand for them the most important place in His glory (vs. 37). It means they need a place above the other ten disciples and all the other human beings. Hearing this, the other ten disciples began to feel indignant with James and John. So the mentality of James, John and the other ten are more or less the same. They all need power and positions. But the attitude of Jesus is just the opposite of this.
Three years back both of them left their dear ones and all their possessions and followed Jesus without any demand. But now they are demanding power and position. The unconditional self-giving and commitment has now turned to conditional discipleship. They wish something in return. It’s a human nature. We often ask what would we get back? I worked hard for my family- what will I gain? I worked for the Church- what the Church will give me back?
Jesus teaches that don’t live for power. But they need a baptism i.e., Baptism on the Cross. It means self-giving love is more important in the journey towards the Kingdom of God. Jesus is asking in vs.38, “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with baptism with which I am baptized?” Jesus is referring ‘the baptism on the Cross’ or ‘the cup’ as the baptism of having the sins of the world engulf Him. Jesus Christ is about to be crucified. He is not talking about the water baptism here. He is talking about the baptism, which He is going to experience on the Cross. So He is asking the disciples, James and John who are expecting a special place of authority in His Kingdom, whether they are able to bear this baptism.
Jesus is asking this question to James and John, but this is also applicable to all of us who are the disciples of Jesus Christ. When we have decided to follow Jesus Christ we should also be able to bear the Cross. We shouldn’t be expecting anything in return. Just work in His vineyard without any grudges. Wherever God has placed us let us work without expecting any power or positions.
Prayer: Most Gracious and Merciful Father thank you for all the wonderful things You have given in our lives. Help us to use our talents in glorifying Your Kingdom. Help us to do the work that You have entrusted on us with determination and commitment and without expecting anything in return. Amen
Rev. Antony T Varghese, Philadelphia