Christ The Teacher: A Servant Is Not Greater Than His Master

Jesus called his disciples “friends, not servants.”

Nevertheless, the disciples are still as servants before he who is Lord and Master.

What Jesus says to them now is by way of encouragement and comfort.

“The world will hate you, my disciples,” he says.

The world – that is, those who run after power and comfort, those who are prepared to lie and cheat to save their face, those who will not stand up for the values of the kingdom – the world hated Jesus, and so it will tend to hate the disciples and persecute them. The world will do to the disciples whatever it did to Jesus.

This, alas, is a hard saying, and who wishes to hear it?

We want to be praised and flattered for following in the footsteps of Jesus. We feel we deserve the support and encouragement of our neighbours for standing up for Christ. This was not Jesus’s way at all. In fact Jesus doesn’t promise his disciples casual success, but failure and persecution instead. Jesus said his disciples would always be at variance with the values of society. Where he preached austerity and poverty, we look for a comfortable life. Where he demanded that we forgo the support of family, we make sure our relatives profit from whatever we do.

So Jesus promised his disciples persecution and misunderstanding from their peers. But – and it’s an important ‘but’ – he told his disciples just as emphatically, that no matter what the problem and the persecution, they would always be happy, always at peace. “In the world you will have trouble. But courage ! I have conquered the world.”

And again, “Your hearts will be filled with joy, and this joy no one will ever take away from you.”

This then is the cost of discipleship: never to be at home in the world, but always to be at home with God, who fills our hearts with joy, courage and tranquility.

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