Bible Society of South Africa
Xanthe Hancox

Fruit of the Spirit – Day 4

The cost of servanthood

Bible text(s)

21It was to this that God called you, for Christ himself suffered for you and left you an example, so that you would follow in his steps.

1 Peter 2:21GNBOpen in Bible reader

38Jesus said to them, “You don't know what you are asking for. Can you drink the cup of suffering that I must drink? Can you be baptized in the way I must be baptized?”

39“We can,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup I must drink and be baptized in the way I must be baptized.

Mark 10:38-39GNBOpen in Bible reader

We could have no greater example or hero of a servant than Jesus Christ. Today’s passage shows us that Christ deliberately chose to become a servant. Servanthood came at a great cost to Jesus and it comes at a cost to us too.

When Jesus spoke to his disciples about servanthood at the Last Supper, he did not try to convince them that it would be an easy ride. He got straight to the small print of the contract: the cost in the service of the kingdom. The task to be entrusted to them was tremendous. Jesus needed men and women of keen perspective and deep conviction. Disciples with both eyes wide open, hearts fully committed and wills completely surrendered to him; men and women who would follow him to the death.

The Lord’s searching question was superficially answered, “we can”. Jesus told them that they would indeed drink the cup and experience the baptism. They must learn that for an influential spiritual ministry to bear fruit, there would be a steep price to pay – and that it cannot be acquired in one easy payment. In the end, it cost James his head and John finished his days in exile, doing hard labour on the island of Patmos. We may not suffer the way the disciples did, but as Christians, we should never be surprised when trials come our way.

The thought of suffering and servanthood are intertwined. In 1 Peter 2:21 we read, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.” Take some time today to read 1 Peter and consider the call to stand firm for Jesus, even when it brings suffering to us. Spend some time in prayer, meditating on how willing you are to bear the sufferings of Christ wherever you happen to be.

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