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From the DayBreaks archive, dated 3/22/2005:
It is a tragic scenario: very shortly before the death of Jesus, his disciples are quarreling about who will get to sit at his right hand and at his left hand, positions of honor at a feast. It is inconceivable that they should be arguing about such things even in the looming shadow of the cross, until we remember that they didn’t really understand that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem to die. To the disciples, however, to be at either side of Jesus was glory: folks would talk about how important and worthy and righteous they must be to have found such favor in Jesus’ eyes. Jesus, however, tells them plainly that they don’t have a clue what they are asking – and he leaves it at that.
Now, days later, Jesus is on the cross. But he’s not alone. There is someone on his right and someone on his left – the place that the disciples believed was a place of honor. But they were no where to be found. They found out that to be on the right or left hand of Jesus wasn’t all it appeared to be. In fact, those who were on the right and left hand of Jesus were criminals…vile sinners. And they weren’t getting praise from anyone…instead they were getting nails and broken legs.
When James and John asked Jesus for the places of honor next to him in his kingdom, he told them they didn’t know what they were asking (Mark 10:35-39). Jesus was trying to tell his position-conscious disciples that a person who wants to be close to Jesus must be prepared to suffer and die. The way to the kingdom is the way of the cross.
But, there was truth to part of the disciples’ belief. For one of the thieves, he found the position next to Jesus to be one not only of honor, but of salvation. The other, sadly, did not. One discovered that just being close to Jesus in proximity wasn’t enough. We have to be united to him in death, alive in him with faith and hope, and in so doing, we will walk the streets of paradise with him in the kingdom.
Do you desire a place of honor and recognition? Have you come to the cross yourself? Have you taken up your place on the cross next to Jesus? Have you died so that you might live? To die with Jesus is a great thing – once you’ve accepted him through faith. But dying next to him without faith is the utmost futility. And if as faithful ones we die with Jesus, how much more glorious is it to live for and with him?
Copyright by 2005 Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>
PRAYER: It is hard to understand the requests of the disciples until we put ourselves in their place, Lord, and realize that we would have likely done the same thing. Help us not to seek our glory, but yours! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.
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