Posts Tagged ‘discipleship’

Perhaps we read bare privilege a little too easily into Jesus words. Perhaps, in our quest for honor, we lose the breadth of his presence.

If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. (John 12:26 ESV)

The context John gives to this word is a somber one.

Indeed the words just previous speak of that death which is necessary in the Father’s strange design.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:24–25 ESV)

No blithe guarantees there.

Similarly the words that follow. Jesus finds his own next steps profoundly unsettling, even worthy of causing a total rethink.

Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. (John 12:27 ESV)

How then should we understand Jesus’ claim in verse 26 that ‘where I am, there will my servant be also’.

Abstracted from its context, it reads like a facile promise that the follower of Jesus will not become separated from his leader. There is, almost certainly, something of that in the statement.

But the follower of Jesus is not here addressed so much as an apprentice as he is engaged as a servant. In fact, the would-be servant of Jesus is rather warned of an obligation: he must go where Jesus goes. When we take the measure of the context, we catch more than a whiff of hard duty here. Indeed, Jesus next steps will take him precisely into the teeth of awful suffering, one from which he comes close to shrinking as he contemplates the horror of it.

It seems that Jesus’ word to his would-be servant here is at least principally a declaration of solidarity in unjust suffering as it is a prediction of Jesus’ own ubiquity in the life of the believer.

Yet the paradox of redemptive logic would have us choose not to reject the one in the recognition of the other.

For better or worse, we might conclude, we will be with Jesus and he with us.

Precisely here lies our plight, our predicament, our death, our glory.



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