The Total Commitment of Jesus

MEMORY SELECTION: “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” —Matthew 20:28

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Matthew 19:1 through 21:5

THE context of this week’s memory selection is found in Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 20, verses 20 through 28. The same account is also found in Mark 10:35-45, differing only in that the sons of Zebedee, James and John themselves, instead of their mother, make the request that they might be given positions of authority and honor in the kingdom of Christ. This is the meaning of one sitting on the right side and the other sitting on the left side of our Lord in that kingdom of glory.

Jesus, however, put them to the test in his reply when he said, “Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (20:22) Our Lord of course realized that to do the will of the Heavenly Father and to receive a position of glory, honor, and immortality in the kingdom would require obedience under adverse conditions. His reference to the “cup” is therefore indicative of trials and suffering. The cup also represents the participation that is made possible by a full consecration of one’s life as part of the body of Christ. The Apostle Paul, commenting on this point, says, “The cup … which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?” (I Cor. 10:16) From this passage we learn that there is a common union, or common participation, in the death of Christ during the present Gospel Age, and that in due time, if we are faithful, we shall also participate in the glory that is to follow. We see, too, that only those who faithfully suffer and die are counted to have made a total commitment of their lives to follow their Master Jesus, even as Jesus, in turn, made a total commitment of his life to do the will of his Heavenly father.

Jesus further implied a test when he spoke of the baptism that he was baptized with, knowing, of course, that that baptism was one of suffering and denial, and death. Paul explained to the brethren at Rome (Rom. 6:3-6) “that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death.” He then goes on to explain further that “therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together [united] in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

This baptism of death” was indeed the total commitment of all that our Lord Jesus possessed, including his right to live as a perfect human being.

Those who have responded to the Father’s call curing this age have accepted the privilege of suffering and dying as joint heirs with his Son. If they are faithful to their covenant they will also live and reign with him in that glorious kingdom of the future. It is in that future thousand-year kingdom that they, together with Jesus, will share in bringing life-giving blessings to all the families of the earth—including those how now still wait in their graves.

Let us not, however, overlook the fact that it will require total commitment on our part to be faithful. Jesus’ admonition was (Matt. 20:26-27), that “whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.” Our Lord therefore puts a premium on humility, as will as stressing the necessity of complete submission to the Father’s will. Serving the needs of other by assisting them in the narrow way and encouraging them to greater faithfulness is one of the privileges that the child of God may enjoy. Indeed, is this not what our Lord did? For he told us that he came not to be ministered unto, but to serve other and to minister to their needs and to give this life as a ransom for the whole world of mankind, who are powerless to help themselves. That is the meaning of the total commitment of Jesus’ life.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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