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  • Writer's pictureTim Hemingway

A Baptism of Service

“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be

baptised with the baptism I am baptised with?” - Mark 10:37

James and John once asked Jesus if one of them could sit at his right hand and the other at his left when he came into his Kingdom. Jesus didn’t chastise them, as we might have expected. After all wasn’t this glory hunting on the part of James and John?

It was. In fact it was the highest form of glory hunting. They wanted to sit in the seats that were, as far they could tell, going to be the closest to Jesus. It’s not wrong to be a glory hunter when that hunting terminates on Jesus. That’s why Jesus doesn’t chastise them. Their glory hunting was the kind that is most honouring to Jesus.

Jesus asks them if they can be baptised with the baptism that he’s about to have. And we know what he has in mind because he equates it with drinking the cup. He’s referring to the cup he later would ask his Father to take away; he’s referring to his death.

So, John and James, ‘can you die with me?’ That’s the baptism he’s about to go through. He tells them they will be baptised with the baptism he is going to endure – they will drink his cup. They won’t sit in the places they want – those have been reserved. But, there is a way to be great in the kingdom – verse 42, Jesus says, ‘whoever wants to become great among you...must be slave of all’. In other words, die to self and rise to serve others. That’s at least part of what our water baptism signifies. We walk in the footsteps of Jesus’ servanthood.


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