Monday, January 16, 2012

Suffering and Discipleship

After washing the feet of the disciples, Jesus instructed them to do likewise. Then he said, “servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greter than the one who sent them” (John 13:16).

With his action of washing feet and his instructions about discipleship, he clarifies what it means to be the church throughout the ages. It means that we receive his power that comes to us through the resurrected life and the filling of the Holy Spirit. Then we choose to use that power by stooping down to serve others. If there is something I’ve learned about being a leader or husband or a parent or having any role of authority, it takes a lot more power to stoop down and serve than it does to “get big” and demand that others give me the respect that I’m due because of my position.

Jesus displayed the power of God by stooping to our level. But too often we try to get around actually following Jesus in a likewise manner. We try to live out triumphal discipleship that does not cost us anything. What does it mean when Paul writes, “I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake” (Col 1:24)? Is it possible that God changes the world as we suffer for and with one another? Is it possible that we are changed and we mature as Christians as we suffer for others?

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