Sunday, March 31, 2024

Mark 10:45

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Scripture Insights

Death on a cross was a form of execution the Romans used to intimidate the people they had conquered and terrorize them into submission. It was a very painful way to die. But it was also degrading. They not only wanted to make you suffer, but they also wanted to strip you of your honor. As such, the cross was symbolic of the unstoppable military power of the Roman Empire and a symbol of shame and humiliation for those who were their enemies.

But Jesus changed the symbol. Jesus chose the cross. He died because his obedience led him there. He laid his life down as a ransom for many. Jesus took the symbol of Caesar’s raw power and made it speak of God’s sacrificial love. He took the symbol of shame and humiliation and made it speak of servanthood and salvation. “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9–11).

When God raised Jesus from the dead, it was a way of saying this way is better. The resurrection vindicated the path of obedience that Jesus had chosen and declared that the real way to life is one that stops grasping and starts giving. Suffering love and servanthood to “the least of these” (see Matthew 25:40) may look like a step down, but in the kingdom of God, you have to step down to step up. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ takes humiliation and turns it into exaltation.

Today’s Prayer

Father, thank you that Jesus’s death and resurrection show us that the greatest life is the one given for the sake of others. Help us lay down our lives in the service of your kingdom.

—David A. Busic
General Superintendent, Church of the Nazarene

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