This Sunday we again gather around the table of the Lord for Communion. The first definition of the “Communion” that Webster gives is: “an act or instance of sharing.” And that’s exactly what we see Jesus doing in Mark 10. By Mark 10:35, Jesus has already shared the news of the cross three times with His disciples.
In chapter 8 He tells them He will suffer and be rejected by the Jewish religious leaders. In chapter 9 He tells them that He will be betrayed into the hands of men and be killed. But in chapter 10 He’s much more specific. He adds detail. He says He will go to Jerusalem alone (in fact He’s en route), He will be condemned to death. He will be tried in the criminal justice system, mocked, spit upon, flogged, and killed. In other words, His death is not incidental to His life and mission, it’s the goal. It’s His purpose. And nothing underscores our need of the cross than His disciples’ response to this final sharing. In fact, it’s the disciples’ reaction to the news of the cross that is our focus this Sunday.
Think of it. Every other founder of a religion lived to set an example. But Jesus lived to die. He lived a life of total sacrifice. In Mark 10:45 He says He came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom. Yet, immediately on the heels of His third announcement, the disciples begin to argue about their own greatness. The portrait Mark paints can’t be more striking. Here in miniature we have the main difference between God’s heart and our hearts. He wants to die, we want to rule. He wants to sacrifice, we want to accumulate. He wants to give, we want to receive. He wants to love others, we want to love ourselves. And in the face of the contrast, Jesus asks this question: “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” It’s a question He continues to ask us.
This Sunday we are going to dig into that question in a message entitled, “Of Water and Wine,” based on Mark 10:35-45. In preparation for Sunday, you may wish to consider the following:
1. On a scale from 1 to 10, how important is your church family to you?
2. Would your membership as affiliation with a local body of Christ ever determine your decision to move or stay, to seek career opportunities, or remain where you are?
3. What’s Jesus’ response to the declaration of James and John in Mark 10:35?
4. On what grounds do they express this desire?
5. What are they asking in verse 37?
6. Why does Matthew put this request in the mouth of their mother? (See Matthew 20.)
7. Who does Mark picture at Jesus’ right and left in Mark 15?
8. What does the word “cup” mean in vs. 38?
9. What’s “baptism” mean?
10. What’s Jesus saying about the cross and them?
See you Sunday!