“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you …. nations will come to your light” (Isaiah 60:1, 3a). Thank you Lord Jesus that your love embraces all peoples!
Read MATTHEW 20:17–28
Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time
17 Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, 18 “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
A Mother’s Request
20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.
21 “What is it you want?” he asked.
She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”
22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
“We can,” they answered.
23 Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”
24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIf possible, kneel down and, in silence, focus on the fact that you are in the presence of God himself.
There are occasions when certain programs or films are pulled from television schedules because it is deemed inappropriate or insensitive to broadcast them given recent real-life events. In light of his recent teaching on kingdom values, Jesus might well have hoped that James and John (and their mother) would have ‘pulled’ their request to secure the ‘best seats in the house’ (v 21). Their petition is all the more insensitive and inappropriate coming as it does after Jesus predicts – for the third time in Matthew’s gospel – his own suffering and death (vs 18,19). Jesus may be a great teacher, but his disciples are hardly model pupils.
Yet how graciously Jesus deals with this most incongruous of requests – accepting it as an honest expression of naivety rather than a willful denial of his teaching (v 22). Truly, God knows us better than we know ourselves. The reaction of the other disciples (v 24) speaks more of envy of the brothers’ bold initiative than it does of their own embrace of kingdom principles. What all twelve, and all who would follow Jesus after them, must learn is that the way of discipleship really is the way of Christ himself (vs 25–28). God will advance his kingdom on earth as it was inaugurated – through humble service and sacrifice.
Think of all the different areas of life in which you hold some kind of authority. How does your exercise of that authority reflect kingdom principles?
Lord, in the passage I am reminded that to suffer and serve are the marks of a true disciple. I can only embrace this truth with your grace and strength. Thank you Lord.
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