Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” Mark 10:35-36
What a dangerous request. A moment ago he had “loved” the rich young ruler….to death. Agape love, self sacrificing love. He loved him with the truth, with the honest reality that he lacked the greatest thing in the world, that was a death to self and a life lived in the Messiah standing before him. Now the boys are pulling on their intimate attachment to the Rabbi, and asking for position, power and influence in eternity. I could feel the Master’s gaze upon them, seeing into and beyond the moment. Loving them.
But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” Mark 10:38
The word baptized in the Hebrew that corresponds with this passage is only mentioned once, it is the world tabal, and it means to dip, plunge, to immerse oneself into. It happens to be at the dark waters of the Jordan with Naaman the leper commander of the King of Syria. Angry that a messenger was sent to tell him to take a bath in a muddy river he storms off in his self-righteous indignation talking to himself:
But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of Jehovah his God, and wave his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. 2 Kngs 5:11-12 NKJV
Humility is the theme of today’s devotion, and I have come to find it is the most elusive attribute and the costliest of all garments. How often I have come to my Lord demanding attention to a need, or request of selfish gain and when he “loved” me enough to withhold the object of my desire, I pouted and stormed at His righteousness. I have raged with leprous pride ,ambition and envy. Stumbling from the soreness in my flesh, longing to be free in my soul, yearning to know peace but refusing the unclear waters of the Jordan. Refusing the messenger of glad tidings from the heart of Father, because it didn’t come by direct revelation. Because I didn’t approve of the wording, or the method of the messengers of grace. I have been like the Zebedee boys and I have stormed off like Naaman, reciting the attributes of my own ways and means over the direct instruction of my God. I have often refused to wash and be clean, and blamed my God for my lack of wholeness.
And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. 2Kings 5:13-14 NKJV
The Spirit moved me to the banks of the Jordan to stare into the murky water. The water of the ways of the mystery of God’s dealings with man. So often shrouded in darkness, bathed in lightning, and trumpets and smoke, and mud. What does it mean to wash? I run my hands under the water of the Word and wait.
The word for wash in the above scripture is rachats. It means to wash the whole or part of a thing, means wash basin, and there in its root form, it means trust. Like a servant who washes his master, trust. Like a mother who washes her baby, trust. Like the way the healer washes our wounds, trust. For the kindness to succeed, trust is the necessary response of the recipient.
I sat quiet for a long while staring at the invitations to the Jordan that have been extended time and again and my justifications that have kept me soul sick and ineffective. It was always about trust. I could feel Him Agape me. Love me to the truth of the matter, the root of my leprosy was that I didn’t trust the nearness and goodness of God.
Oswald Chambers said that the root of all sin is the suspicion that God is not good. I was horribly suspicious of what I could not see. The call to step into the muddy water in full trust of his goodness provoked terror. I could feel the Spirit whisper to me: “Would you be clean?”
Father, I wait on the banks of the unclear, unknown waters of your ways. I declare my ways are not your ways, my thoughts are not your thoughts. I yield my prideful heart to you. Wash me, and I will be clean. Save me, and I will be saved. Feed me and I shall eat. Call me, and I will come. Make me whole precious Healer, as I place my trust in the goodness of your heart alone.