Mark 10:38

But Jesus answered, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of sorrow I must drink from? Or to be baptized with the baptism of suffering I must be baptized with?”

I like watching the TV series Empire because it really speaks to the empty quest for power. All three of these sons are scrambling trying to reach “the top” of their careers so they can take over their father’s Empire. But the question I have is, “do they really know what they are asking for?” There’s a lot that comes with running an Empire.

People are attracted to power and prestige but ignore the problems and want to skip the process. They want the glory without living through the pain of the story.

Two of Jesus’ disciples James and John came to him at one of the most stressful times. Jesus was on his way to die an excruciating death on the cross. He told them he was going to Jerusalem to die and all they wanted to know was,”when you come into your Glory can we get some of your shine and sit on your left and your right?”

Your leader is struggling with the thought of death and you worried about the spotlight? Jesus asked them three questions we need to answer:

1. Do you know what you are signing up for? Do you know what comes along with your aspirations? I wonder if people really listen to marriage vows when they are standing at the altar. It’s ironic that Jesus is asked about divorce at the top of this chapter. Maybe I should just replace marriage vows with this question, “Do you really know what you are getting ready to do?!”

2. Can you drink this bitter cup of sorrow? When Jesus was praying the night he was going to get arrested, he prayed three times for God to take this cup away. My theology teacher asked us a question, “what was in that cup that Jesus didn’t even want to drink?!” Sorrow! Sorrow is defined as a deep distress, sadness, or regret especially for the loss of someone or something loved. When you are a Disciple of Jesus there will be times when you experience sorrow. The statement is true. It’s lonely at the top. Being a pastor means that you are in a perpetual state of grief because of all the people you see come and go. Are you ready for this?

3. Can you be baptized in the suffering I’m about to experience? Jesus was speaking of his crucifixion. The other day ISIS beheaded 21 Coptic Christians they kidnapped from Libya. We think suffering is people “hating” on us. How about having your head cut off? Western Christians really don’t know about suffering. Post modern Christians don’t sign up for suffering. We sign up for convenience. When serving Jesus becomes inconvenient we are ready to quit. We want the blessings but not the persecutions.

Dear God,

I’m aware that your blessings outweigh the persecutions but the persecutions are real. There is something greater. Our present suffering does not compare to our future glory. This world is not our home. In the meantime strengthen the work of our hands and the courage in our hearts so we will not fail you in the time of testing. Help us to be faithful over a few things so that when its all over you will make us ruler over many.

In Jesus Name,

Amen