Training for Reigning - 10 - What class are you in now?

IT WAS A GREAT moment - the greatest any of us have ever known - when we made Christ our choice. John and Andrew must have felt that way, too, that day at Jordan when the Baptist pointed to the approaching Jesus and said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world"; John 1: 29. Likely it was then that verses 12-13 were fulfilled in their lives, when they received Him, and were given "authority and ability to become sons of God in name and nature." Thus began an entirely new era in their earth-experience. New interests and desires, which were destined to push aside the usual run of men’s concerns, came into their hearts, reversing any former trends, launching them on a wholly different type of career - a career for which they had had little, if any, previous training. The bulk of their earlier ideas and values, of hopes and objectives, of beliefs and unbeliefs, had now to be discarded. They discovered they had to start all over again! So it was that Andrew and John (like ourselves), found themselves outside all their former lifetime pursuits, and ENROLLED IN A NEW SCHOOL. Afterwards John knew that it had been in the "little children’s" class; 1 John 2:13b.
But they were eager students and did not stay long in the New Believers’ grade. Indeed, it was only the next day - after the Baptist, looking upon the Saviour, once more had declared, "Behold the Lamb of God" (35-37)- that they left his side to become followers of the Lord. Yesterday, as loyal pupils of the wilderness preacher, they had called John their teacher, their "rabbi." But the new birth had broken all the old ties. They passed. From henceforth the Lamb of God would be their "Rabbi" (vs. 38) and they would learn of Him. Thus, although so newly won to Him, they advanced quickly, becoming the first students in the Disciples’ (learners’) class; John 2:2 . . . By the way, what class are you in now?
What a privilege to be a pupil in such a class! (Actually, discipleship is the very finest career that is open to the twice-born
- this side of Heaven, of course).
You will recall that Mary of Bethany (Luke 10: 38-42) was a scholar in this class. Her busy sister, Martha, simply didn’t have time for it. After all, we can’t live without eating; besides, was she not getting a meal ready for her Lord? She longed to set for Him the very best table she could provide. Surely nothing could be too good for her Master! But Mary . . . doubtless Martha thought her an indolent thing - just sitting there doing nothing - leaving her poor sister to do all the work alone! If only the Lord would tell Mary to get up and help her, she, too, might have time to sit and talk.
Dear Martha . . . unseeing Martha! It is not unlikely that her Lord’s rebuke hurt her sorely. It would seem to her so unappreciative - so unsympathetic, don’t you think? True, she was cumbered; but it was because she was trying to do her very best, to set before her Lord "many things" - meaning different sorts of food-dishes. It must have made her feel flat, after all her trouble, to be told that "only one thing" - only one sort of food - was needful. Yet in this way, alone, could her loving Lord (John 11: 5), in His unfailing faithfulness, teach her that there was a better part. Dear Martha! she just hadn’t accepted - yet - that poor way of doing things. Perhaps she got around to it later?
Mary’s attitude, of course, was altogether different. To her, any simple thing would do for a meal so long as she could sit in the Learner’s class, "at Jesus feet," and hear His Word. The meal that her sister prepared was very good, no doubt - while it lasted. But the lessons Mary learned that day are in her possession still. They "shall not be taken away from her." From this fact we judge that such instruction becomes the ages-enduring wealth of all who will do as Mary did. Many young believers read their Bible as a duty. A few, who are student- minded, read them to learn the principles and teachings found therein. But the true disciple cannot be satisfied with merely that. Such will take his, or her, Bible and read it as before the Lord, asking Him, not only to open it up to the understanding, but chiefly, asking Him to speak to him, or her, through His Word as it is being read . . . Ever do that? Actually, it is lesson I in the Disciples’ Class. Let me urge you to get the habit. For you simply must make some progress as one who learns from Him if you ever hope to make the next grade!
That John and Andrew, with the others, made such progress Is apparent from John 13: 12-17. They still were Believers and Disciples; but here the Lord advances them to the Servants’ Class. Likely they had been enrolled in this class for some time (Luke 9: 1-6), and had learned its earlier lessons. But in this passage one special lesson feature is emphasized. It is that he, or she, who would be a servant of the Lord must learn to follow the Perfect Servant’s example.
Class number 4 comes into view in John 15: 14-15. The Christian’s advance into the Friends’ Class is strictly conditional:
"If ye do whatsoever I command you." In this grade the Lordship of Christ and the guidance of His Word become the hourly concern of the student, with special revelations of God’s will as the reward (Psalm 25: 9, 14) and true fruit bearing.
The final grade mentioned in John’s Gospel is found in John 20: 17. Because of Calvary and His resurrection, we learn that His friends have advanced so far in intimacy with Himself that He speaks of them as "His Brethren." None of us would dare to refer to Him as "our Brother." Yet in those words He sets before us our union with Himself (Hebrews 2: 11); and in this class surely the possibilities and fruits of that union (already begun in the Friends’ grade: John 15: 4-8), will be entered into most fully. Of it I cannot pretend to speak from experience. But I feel pretty sure that the writer of 2 Timothy 4: 6-8 had been an honour student therein - indeed, was about to graduate, cum laude.
So, as these grades appear before us in John’s Gospel, I am suggesting 5 Classes in the Lord’s School. How are we getting along, you and I? How far have we advanced? Since Examination Day (2 Corinthains 5: 10) is just around the corner, let’s ask ourselves the important question: WHAT CLASS AM I IN NOW?