“If any one serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant also be; if any one serves Me, the Father will honor him.” John 12:26
There – Where is a servant supposed to be? With his master, of course. How can a servant fulfill his duties to the master if he is someplace else? Makes perfect sense, right? But in this context, the proximity requirement isn’t so appealing. Oh, we’re happy to be with Jesus when everything is joy and peace and light. Remember Peter? “Where will we go, Lord? You have the words of life.” But that’s not the context of this verse. Just back up a few verses and you will discover that Yeshua is speaking about the necessity of suffering. A grain of wheat dies. A man loses his life. The Son of Man has come to the hour of trial. Where are the servants of the Master supposed to be now? With Him. Where will they be when all hell breaks loose? Running scared.
The Greek adverb, ekei, means “in that place.” There, in the place where the Master is. Servant and master belong together. Remember YHWH’s question to Adam in the Garden? “Where are you?” Not where are you located, but why aren’t you here with Me? It all seems so reasonable.
But Yeshua goes to some pretty terrible places. Not all of them are on a rise outside the city wall of Jerusalem. In fact, if He should venture to Zambia or to Haiti or to some other “god-forsaken” geography of the planet, we would probably volunteer to be with Him. If He should decide to spend some time in the prisons or the mental hospitals or the cancer wards, we would go along. We might have a moment of trepidation, but those aren’t places we actually fear. But there are places Yeshua goes that frighten us to death. They are usually places deep within us, places that we keep well covered, locked securely behind protective walls, places that we don’t even want to peek into because we know that we are helplessly out of control in that territory. There are places within that are far more terrifying than anything we might encounter on the planet.
Oswald Chambers once observed that in moments of real crisis most human beings are able to muster self-abandonment and heroically charge ahead to save others. The experience of 9/11 demonstrates this indubitable fact. But the needed heroism to open those locked doors within? That’s quite another matter. Yet Yeshua is not afraid to descend into hell, even our personal hell. And if He does, where are we supposed to be?
Topical Index: there, ekei, servant, master, John 12:26