The Slow Climb to Calvary

Michael Beck

“For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Hebrew 2:10)

The contrast was great. Jesus had just told His disciples the exact order of His humiliation: He will be delivered to the Jewish authorities who will condemn Him to death; they will then turn Him over to the Gentiles who will mock Him, scourge Him, spit upon Him, and kill Him. (Mark 10:33,34) And immediately after this pronouncement what is the concern of His closest disciples, James and John? They say: “Master, we would that you should do for us whatever we shall desire.” And what do you want, Jesus asks. “We want to sit on Your right and Your left hand when You come into Your glory.” (Mark 10:35-37)

Oh how many of His disciples still want to reign without first suffering. They want a crown without a cross. They want glory, and power, and authority. They want whatever they desire and they desire what is pleasing to flesh.

The path that Jesus was traveling was at first very foreign to His disciples. Their thinking was natural. They were frightened and put off by their Master’s talk of suffering. They had not grasped what Jesus was telling them about their own cross and the baptism of suffering that was also in store for them.

Jesus is not ashamed to call those His brethren who are one with Him in suffering (He. 2:10,11). As it pleased the Father to break the Son (Isa. 53:10), so it pleases Him to break the many sons He brings to glory. He calls us into conformity to His Son, not primarily in our becoming miracle workers whose trade is signs and wonders, but into those who worship Him through a life of complete submission. Our obedience also brings us to a cross, where a death occurs to our own power and honor and glory in this world.

There was no getting around the cross for Jesus. There is no getting around it for all of us who would glorify His Name. Our crucifixion will entail our willingness to be weak. It will allow for our humiliation. On our cross we will face painful despising and rejection, false witness and condemnation. God will require us to be unknown, unappreciated, and dishonored. “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (Hebrews 12:6) Why does the Lord do this? So we might grow up into His Son in all things.

As they grew from baby disciples, whose main excitement was to walk in “unlimited” realms of power and glory, the mature disciples understood what it meant to take up and bear their own unique cross and discover real union with their Master. The contrast between them and their Lord would no longer be so great.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.