“In the same way, the Son of Man did not come to be served. He came to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many people.”
* Mark 10:45 (NCV)
How do you believe Jesus has served you? Have you seen him still serving today? What does it mean to you that Jesus gave his life to you? What is the proper response to this gift?
The following story is by Fred Craddock as found in “Craddock Stories” ed. Mike Graves and Richard F. Ward, Chalice Press, 2001, pg. 46.
You don’t just turn loose of life. Life is a very tenacious thing and will not give itself up easily. First time I ever realized that was while chopping cotton on a farm. I don’t know if you know what chopping cotton is, but you’re chopping everything but the cotton. You’re chopping the weeds and all. But there was a snake, which I killed, but then I had to keep chopping the snake, calling my father and saying, “I’ve killed the snake, but it won’t stop wiggling.”
He said, “Well, son, a snake won’t die until sundown.” I didn’t know that. He said, “You hang it on a fence,” so I picked it up with a hoe and put it over a fence. Every once in a while I’d look over at the fence, and there was just the tail of that snake moving just like that, until sundown. I learned for the first time that it’s hard to give up life, just turn it loose.
And Jesus said, “I’m going to turn it loose.” But it was not a decision that was determined by his friends – they tried to oppose it – and it was not a decision determined by his enemies. He looked at them with a level gaze and said, “You’re not taking my life; I’m giving my life.” He was free.
Jesus freely gave up life in order that we may have life! There is a lot of celebration going on this time of year. Most of it is momentary celebration however, it will be forgotten as soon as we pack up the decorations and begin the drudgery of life again. That is why this free gift is important, because it is the reason we can celebrate forever and ever! There is something else though. Rejoicing in Jesus giving up his life is not the full extent of our celebration. Our joy becomes complete when we give up our lives in response, turning them loose to Jesus. Now that will be a celebration!