Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A meditation for Holy Week

The School of Jesus
The word "disciple" has taken on not only a religious meaning, but a religious feel and tone. Our English word is faithful to the linguistic background of the word for being "under discipline" in the way that "discipline" is used in academic circles; that is, one who studies and learns. This learning is formal, guided and governed by standards that the learner cannot alter. The one who studies either passes or fails. A German translation of μαθητής (mathētēs, that word we translate as "disciple") is the word Schüler. This comes from the same root, obviously, as the word "scholar," and also the word "school."

To be a disciple of Jesus is to be in the school of Jesus. The school of Jesus begins with one subject, and we never graduate in this life. We take our exams everyday, we are graded far more generously than we deserve by a merciful Teacher, and our studies continue. The school of Jesus is the way of the cross.

"Whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:27

This is the way of death, a lesson we must learn everyday, if we follow Jesus. In order to follow him we must die everyday to our own will, our desires, our pride, our lust, our anger. Jesus did not carry the cross only on Good Friday. He was ready to die that day because all of his life he had lived to do the will of his Father, not to please himself.

Beginning on Thursday night, we see how a lifetime of being in the form of a servant prepared him to carry the heavy wood of the cross, all the way up to Golgotha where he would be nailed to it, and would pour out his soul unto death. With humility he washes the feet of the disciples. At that time he redirected the motives of his closest disciples, who were arguing until then about which of them should be the greatest.

"So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you." John 13: 11-15

On several other occasions he had said such things to them.

"The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?" Matthew 10:24, 25

"Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." Matthew 20:26-28

The school of Jesus is the way of the cross. He has no other course of study for us, for it is the only way of life and of peace.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sunday was my day for viewing Ben Hur and today for The Passion of the Christ. What a surprise after I'd attached some stills from the Passion film into my computer journal and Mt. 20.25-28 to check here this evening and see a still from that film and your citing within the same verses.

It is an encouragement to know that others are not only attending Holy Week services but setting aside some time perhaps with the arts, in contemplation of "the school of Jesus". Thanks for this meditation.