Scripture: Mark 10:35-45:
James & John had no idea what JESUS meant about “drinking the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized” (v. 38).
The cup was the death He was about to endure. If you want to rule with JESUS in His glory then you must die with Him—you must drink the same cup. The baptism JESUS was referring to was that His death was not only as a bitter cup to drink but an immersion—a baptism—in suffering. JESUS was saying, My pathway to glory & to kingship is through suffering & death. If you want to share in His honor & glory, you must follow Him in His suffering & death.
In verse 45 JESUS gives an example of what He means, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, & to give His life a ransom for many.” This is JESUS’ radical call to discipleship. If you desire to follow JESUS, be prepared to suffer & die (Matt. 7:14; Mark 8:34).
Here’s the shocking surprise: This is not a call to serve JESUS, but a call to be served BY JESUS as we serve others & to be ransomed by Him from death. This is the Son of Man serving me! Ransoming me from my sin & my death! JESUS is refusing to be served by me. Insisting on being the Servant & the Savior in my life!
He is saying: Yes, drink my cup. Yes, share my baptism. Yes, serve others. Yes, be the slave of all. This is what it means to be my disciple. But don’t serve me! I have not come to be served. I will not be served like this. I will be the servant. I have not come to be served, but to serve. In your relationship with me, I will be the servant. I will serve you. I will work for you.
Do you think you can drink this cup without my help and service? Do you think you can endure the suffering of my baptism without my serving you & helping you? Do you think you can become the kind of person that renounces fame & human status to serve all other people without my serving you—day & night all the days of your life? No you can’t.
JESUS demands your life; all of it. He demands that you take on a life that sacrifices everything for the sake of serving others (Luke 14:33). This is hard. In fact, it is impossible. That is what verse 45 is all about. The great UNLESS . . . Unless the Son of Man is serving you day & night.