Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Do We Really "Take Up the Cross?"

My ongoing search for "What did Jesus really - really mean?" abides.

“Mutiny on the Bounty” is a classic novel and movie about an historic conflict over power and authority. Many critics deem the book and film as inaccurately presenting the facts as history documents. When you dissect the epic, it breaks down to a struggle of power and influence. If you are familiar with the actual events that create the story, the final consequences reveal the inner heart of the parties involved. The Charles Laughton character ends up all the integrity and the Clark Cable character ends up surrounded by folly.

Every organization has a set of policies and procedures that are designed to give the organization guidance. Followers are expected to adhere. For some reason (which we all know to be the nature of humanity) organizations often end up with a disparity between those who create the policies and those expected to follow them.

The drive for creating standards comes from power and authority. The acquiring of power and authority is something most human beings desire. To be in control is to be able to administer your will or the will of those who are like-minded.

This is a universal paradigm which Jesus challenged in context to following him. I don't think this principle is implemented in our westernized culture.
Matt 20 20Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. 21"What is it you want?" he asked. She said, "Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom." 22"You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said to them. "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?" "We can," they answered. 23Jesus said to them, "You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father." 24When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 25Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

"Not so with you" contains a second person plural pronoun and serves as an antecedent to "whoever" (or literally "that one") in verses 26 & 27. So Jesus is not only addressing the disciples, He is setting forth a foundational criteria for all who desire to follow Him.

In our corporate employer/employee; management/workforce culture, we have created a disparity that does not really fall in line with this "Kingdom MO." Many who even espouse a "servant leadership" approach are not willing to sacrifice their position of authority. The power, no matter how humble one attempts to be, is enslaving.

One can only imagine what might take place for the cause and purpose of God's Kingdom in Christ Jesus, if we are really willing to act as servants and slaves.

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