Daily Dose, March 15 — Lent

“Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favor of him. And he said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said to him, ‘Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’

“But Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?’ They said to him, ‘We are able.’

“He said to them, ‘You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.’

“When the 10 heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’ ” (Matthew 20:20-28)

Lent is traditionally a time to reflect on the suffering of Jesus. Certainly this means paying devoted attention to all that happened to our Lord following his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was falsely accused, indicted by hateful and jealous men, and handed over to a Roman governor who had no meaningful interest in discovering the truth. And, Christ’s hours on the cross are well documented and preached upon. But let’s not forget that Jesus suffered fools like us every day that he lived among us. He suffered when the rich young ruler walked away from the challenge of a life totally devoted to God. He suffered when he caught his own disciples arguing about who was the greatest in their group, while Jesus was moving toward the cross of Calvary. He suffered as Peter denied even knowing him when Jesus most needed him, and he suffered when the people of his own hometown of Nazareth refused to believe in him.

The suffering of Christ involved far more than hammer and nails and the hardwood of the cross. He suffered trying to get through our hard-headed attitudes and trying to soften the hard hearts we force upon each other. We can never ease the suffering he endured for us on the cross, but the other sufferings we can ease any time we choose. -- Dr. Don Martin