“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” (Mark 10:38)
What was the disciples’ response to this question? They said, “We can.” We can what? The disciples had no concept that Jesus was going to the Cross with the burden of their sins upon His back. They had no concept of God the Father’s love being shown in Jesus’ death. And if they had, would they have been so quick to answer, “We can?” Following Jesus in obedience, as He followed the Father, is an impossible calling. We need all the help we can get from our God, through His Spirit, to be able to live our life in even a fraction of the obedience Jesus lived, because that obedience means death to our self.
Death to our self, our way of doing things, is very difficult. In this life we will not experience it completely and Jesus knows this. If we were able to live in perfect obedience, we would totally be like Him. But our falling short into continual sin proves our need for Him and the forgiveness our trusting in Him brings. No, we cannot completely drink the cup Jesus drank, but we would hope His working in us would bring a fraction of obedience that would please Him. With His Cross ever before us we live in His forgiveness.
Heavenly Father, we know that our obedience to Your will is impossible without Your intervention in our life. Stir up Your Spirit within us to be alert to Your calling and obedient to it. Forgive us in our falling short, which will happen often, and lift us up again to go on into Your will.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Robert Forsberg is retired from Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn.