Jesus Came to Save
Key Verse: “Even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
FOLLOWING JESUS’ PREDICTION of his crucifixion, James and John approached the Master and expressed a desire that they might be close to him in the kingdom, one on his right hand and the other on his left. In another account, it was their mother who made this request on behalf of her sons. “Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.” (Matt. 20:20,21) Even though his impending death must have been on the Lord’s mind, he did not issue any reproof concerning the petition to occupy these two positions of chiefest favor, but he inquired whether they were able to drink of his cup and participate in his baptism.—Mark 10:35-38
“And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.”—vss. 39,40
The ‘cup’ in the foregoing text relates to difficult experiences; for example, here is one expression from the Lord, “Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”—John 18:11
The Heavenly Father required Jesus to have tests of obedience under adversity before he could be qualified to receive the divine nature and become the Captain of our salvation. Similarly, his baptism did not refer to water immersion, but the daily fulfilling of his vow to lay down his human life according to God’s will. (Luke 12:50) Jesus assured James and John that they also would suffer even unto death as they followed in the Lord’s footsteps.
The other disciples were greatly displeased that James and John desired to have prominent positions in the kingdom, but Jesus gave them all important lessons that each of them would be rewarded based upon faithfulness in rendering service to others. “Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.”—Mark 10:42-44
Our Key Verse identifies the Master as the greatest servant of all because he willingly gave his life to save the entire human race from sin and death.
Believers who hearken to the Master’s words will pursue a course of life that opposes the spirit of the world and a desire for self-exaltation. On the contrary, the Apostle Peter provides sage counsel for all who desire to be with the Lord and help to restore the human family from the present condition of sin and death. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”—I Pet. 5:6