“Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, ‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.’ ” ~ Matthew 20:17-19
Jesus had been warning His disciples repeatedly that this would happen. Look at the details given! He would be betrayed to the chief priests and scribes. He would be condemned to death. He would be handed over to the Gentiles (the Romans) and mocked, scourged, and crucified. And He would also rise again.
Later in this same chapter, the mother of James and John, the two sons of Zebedee (also nicknamed the “Sons of Thunder” ~ Mark 3:17), came to Jesus and requested that her boys be seated at His right hand and at His left, in His kingdom.
“But Jesus answered and said, ‘You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ They said to Him, ‘We are able.’ So He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.’ ” ~ Matthew 20:22-23
Do you ever wish you could see the future and know what God has planned for you? I sometimes do. But then I read a passage like this, and I am reminded that it may be too much for me to know! I am humbled by the answer given by these two young men. We are able. I wonder if they understood what they were accepting. Jesus had just told Him what He would be suffering. Did they really agree to suffer the same? Oh, that I might be willing to accept whatever suffering may come my way, for the sake of Jesus and for His glory!
Whatever we may be facing, whether it be a time of trial and suffering, or a time of quiet waiting and hoping and wondering, know that we too are able. In Christ alone. Whatever God has planned for us, if we are willing to follow His will for our lives, He will be with us and make us able.
As the Apostle Paul reminds us:
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ~ Philippians 4:11-13
“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’ ” ~ Hebrews 13:5-6
And Jesus Himself promised us:
” ‘…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ ” ~ Matthew 28:20b
The Great I AM is with us, always. He has promised to never ever forsake or abandon us. And through Him we can do all things. We are able.
And don’t forget, Jesus had also mentioned He would rise again. So John and James would partake in that, as well. Oh, what a glorious promise! We will all rise again. Death has no lasting power over us. One day we will be with Jesus!
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed– in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:51-58