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Jesus predicted his arrest and shameful death as he was going up to Jerusalem with his disciples. But he also said quite clearly that he would be raised on the third day. These friends of his had been with him for several years, but they still did not quite understand the mission of Jesus to be the Passover lamb that was sacrificed so that others might be saved.
We see that same misunderstanding in the next section of the Gospel when the mother of James and John came up to Jesus and asked that he give her sons a place of prominence in his kingdom. He disappointed her, telling her that it was not his position to give. But he made reference, once again, to the suffering that is necessary for the kingdom to be realized. He said to the two brothers, “Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?” It was a cup of sacrifice. They said, “We can.”
Jesus used the occasion to teach an important lesson. To enter the kingdom of God one must decide to become a servant. Jesus was about to show just how much that decision would cost. It would cost giving one’s very life to the cause of the kingdom. This sacrifice is found in a husband’s decision to give his life to his wife and vice versa. This sacrifice is found in missionaries who go to foreign countries, following the call of Jesus, not counting the danger they might find. This sacrifice is found in every man who accepts the call to ordination. This sacrifice is found in the single mom who sacrifices so much for her child because she knows she is called to love without counting the cost. There are many other examples I can give where following Jesus is not easy, yet it is still life-giving.
Do we really want to be of service in God’s kingdom, or do we complain when others do not serve our needs?