As Jesus nears the day of his crucifixion, he becomes increasingly confrontational. It’s not that he is trying to give people a hard time, no, it’s nothing like that. Instead, he is showing us that we have to make a choice – a choice that has profound consequences on our lives.
Often people like to feel religious without getting serious about what Jesus Christ says concerning what it practically means to follow him on a daily basis. There is something attractive about “feeling” God’s presence and comfort when we’re down and out. On the other hand, we human beings feel it intrusive for God to tell us we are to live in a way that inconveniences us.
We have just begun to commemorate the season of Lent, a period of about 6 weeks just before Easter, during which we focus on the meaning and application of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. This Sunday we will study an event that took place only a few weeks before Good Friday. We will hear Jesus explain to his disciples that his life must end at the cross, but then assures them he will rise from the dead. Immediately following that emotional revelation, two of Jesus’ closest followers ask him to make them the leaders of the other disciples. It’s a pure grasp for power on the part of James and John. It is at that point Jesus contrasts the cross with popular culture. What will it be? Will we give up our lives to Christ out of thankfulness for the Lord giving up his life for us? Or will we choose the path of our culture which is a daily grasp at self-centered power and control?
Jesus makes it clear, he didn’t save us to serve ourselves, he saved us to serve him. And so we must each ask, “Who am I serving?”