As we walk through this life following our Savior, we may quickly discover that the Christian life calls us more often to suffering than it does to fame. This was the rude awakening that James and John received upon their mother’s request. What a humbling response from Jesus!
You do not know what you are asking, Jesus answered in reference to His suffering. Are you able to drink the cup that I am going to drink?
Perhaps we have forgotten that suffering was an inherent aspect of Jesus’s life. In Luke 9:58, after someone (perhaps too confidently) reassured Jesus that “I will follow you wherever you go,” Jesus responded by saying, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” John 1:11 reminds us that Jesus “came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” We worship a Savior who suffered in His life and in His death. As Jesus approached His gruesome and undeserving death and cried out His prayers, His most intimate friends could not even stay awake to pray with Him. How quickly we forget the sufferings of our Savior.
Going back to the passage, it is evident that these two brothers were more concerned with sharing in the glory of Jesus than sharing in the sufferings of Jesus. How often do we do the same thing? 1 Peter 4:13 tells us that we are to “rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” For the Christian, suffering like Christ is a reason to rejoice! What an opportunity we have to share in the life of Christ in our sufferings!
How is God calling you today to share in the sufferings of Christ? Is it turning the other cheek? Forgiving your close friend (or perhaps even spouse) when there is no glory in it for yourself? Putting others before yourself even when it hurts and goes unnoticed? Or have we settled for a lukewarm Christianity that only wants to live like Jesus when it’s comfortable? Or perhaps we have settled for too small a view of the love of God, who suffered in such ways in His pursuit of undeserving us.
Take heart in your sufferings, friends. Recognize them as tremendous opportunities to live like Jesus. See them as a testament to the love of Jesus, who considered our redemption worth the enormously high cost to Himself. As you do so, rest in the promise of 2 Corinthians 1:5 – “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
By: Logan West