Christ went further than merely foregoing recognition and acclaim, however. He became in the fullest and most public sense a servant. He did not sit in the place of honour with those who were being waited on but chose, instead, to stand with those who were doing the waiting (Mark 10:45) and whose service was totally unappreciated. Indeed, men were scandalised both at the kind of service he rendered and at the way he rendered it. He could not even vindicate himself. He was in the right and knew that he was in the right. But he allowed himself to be put in the wrong, to be seen only as condemned, outcast, despised and defeated. Not all suffering involves rejection. Very often the sufferer is upheld by the knowledge that his suffering is acclaimed and appreciated and that although he is hated by his persecutors he is lauded by his peers. For Christ, it was far different. He suffered without admiration and without compassion.
For the church, this means an end to all imperialism. The moments when the word shouts Hosannas and scatters palm-branches in the path of the people of God (John 12:13) are to be rare and exceptional: and dubious. The normal attitude will be hatred, contempt and persecution. When the church finds herself sitting at the top table with the politicians, the academics, the sportsmen and the pop-stars, it is virtually certain that she has abandoned the way of the cross.
From Glory to Golgotha, Christian Focus, 2002, p. 98-99.