12/22 Matthew 20:22

22 Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able."

The mother of James and John saw that this was going to be a climactic time. She expected the overthrow of the Romans and the establishment of a new Davidic kingdom. She asked Jesus if her two sons could be on thrones on Jesus' left and right. Jesus told her sons that they did not know what they were asking. This was not about conquering armies, but about dying to self and suffering with Christ. Jesus asked if they were able to drink the cup He was going to drink. They said they were able, but I doubt they realized that He was referring to the cross.

If God were to ask, "Who wants to be Savior of the world?" many hands might go up. If He added, "It will mean mocking, beating, and a horrible, agonizing death," I think most of those hands would go down. When you ask for gifts and calling into a particular ministry, be sure that you count the cost. Service to Christ in this world inevitably comes with persecution.

I often wonder if we misinterpret the return of Christ and what will happen then as much as the disciples misunderstood what was about to take place. Will we be as shocked as they were as things unfold? We won't really know if we are able to drink the cup of suffering until it is handed to us. I do know that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). When the hour comes, we must rely on His strength and not our own.

Consider: Jesus told the church of Philadelphia that because they kept the word of His patience, He would keep them from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world. May God help us to keep Jesus' word of patience (Revelation 3:10).