As an old army guy, I love a good war movie. One of those is the movie, Fury. It’s a story about a tank crew in World War II. There are five men in the crew, and they experience all the horrors of war together as they fight against Nazi Germany. They have been together from D-Day, or the beginning of the war in Europe.
Towards the end of the movie, the crew is facing almost certain death. In fact, all but one of them will be killed in the battle they’re preparing for. The tank commander, a hardened sergeant, leans back inside the tank and says that being with them is “the best job I ever had.” The rest of the crew agrees, repeating the same phrase.
A person like myself has mixed emotions at that statement. On the one hand, it seems crazy. After watching the movie and seeing all that these men went through together, one would think it was the worst job in the world. They had seen so many of their friends die. Rolling across Europe in a cramped tank for a year, separated from your family, was a hard and dangerous existence.
But on the other hand, the statement makes perfect sense, even for people who never served on a tank crew. We understand that these men had a special bond with each other. They would literally lay down their lives for the rest of the men in the tank. Very few people are ever a part of a team like that. In addition, they saw themselves as being engaged in a noble cause. They played a role in ridding the world of one of the worst dictators it had ever seen. One of the men in the tank talks about the Bible constantly, and you can imagine that he saw what he was doing as pleasing to God since he was trying to stop the slaughter of the Jews, God’s chosen people. How many people could say they had done something that great with their lives?
No wonder these five men claimed to have the best job in the world. The trials and dangers they faced did not change that fact.
It occurred to me recently that the disciples the Lord chose to follow Him in His ministry could say the same thing. Theirs was also a dangerous occupation. They didn’t realize it at first. But the reader of Mark can see it clearly. Just before the Lord chooses these men, we are told that powerful forces are stacked against Him, deciding that He must die (3:6). It then says that Satan is opposed to Him (3:11-12). Immediately afterwards, Jesus picks these men to be His crew (3:13-19). Mark gives us their names.
After naming these men, Mark says that even the Lord’s family is against Him, thinking He is insane (3:21). The very next verses say that representatives from the government, a government based upon the Law of Moses, have concluded that He is a person possessed by evil (3:22). These powerful forces will eventually lead to His death.
In other words, the men who choose to follow Jesus as disciples sign up for a dangerous job. In fact, just as in the movie Fury, all but one of them will be killed because they are a part of that group.
Once again, an outsider might look at that and say it was a terrible life, a terrible job if you will. At first glance, we might say we would not want to have any part of something like that.
But we know better. Each of these men, at the end of his life would have leaned back and said, “I had the best job in the world.” For three years they had the privilege of bonding with the Son of God. They got to share with Him in His life of suffering. They had experiences with Him that the rest of the world would never enjoy. They would eventually lay down their lives for Him.
Like the men in Fury, they were also involved in a noble cause. But their cause was infinitely more noble. These disciples of the Lord would go out in His power and lay the foundation of the church. They would get to proclaim the message of eternal life to a world in darkness. They would play important roles in God’s plan of bringing in the Kingdom of God.
When we believe in Jesus for eternal life, we have it and can never lose it. But the Bible teaches us that if, after believing in Him, we want to be disciples of the Lord, we can expect difficulties. We can expect the world to be opposed to us. We are at war. But if we are faithful to the Lord, when all is said and done, we will be like the sergeant in the tank. We can lean back and say it was the best job in the world.