(Jesus said to his apostles:) “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!”
In the world, students may eclipse their teachers in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. However, when it comes to Jesus, we simply cannot overtake him, but we can — and must — live lives in imitation of him.
There has never been a teacher quite like Jesus, who *practically* demonstrated every lesson he taught. The most notable lesson was, perhaps, on the day of the Last Supper when he got down to his knees before sinful men and washed their feet. When he was done he said: “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:13-15).
If that wasn’t hard enough, he told them that they would suffer like he did. They would be flogged, betrayed, hated, and persecuted. They would also, as we read in today’s passage, be accused of being followers of the devil! In theological sources, Beelzebul — or Beelzebub — is another name for Satan.
It isn’t going to be different for any of us who follow Christ as the apostles did. The question then is: Why follow him if it was going to be such a hard deal? Peter might have the answer. One day, all Jesus’ followers left him in a mass exodus. He had told them that unless they ate his flesh and drank his blood, they would have no life in them. Finding his teaching too hard to follow, Scripture says, “many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:66-68).
We can remain people of the world, doing what the world does, unmindful and uncaring about the eternal life that follows this one. Or we can choose to make heaven our final destination. “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:14). The road is not easily traveled but then what awaits us at the end makes it all worth it. Don’t you think?
May the Spirit be with you.