Monday 25 July 2016

Bible Book:

“Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?’” (v. 22)

Matthew 20:20-28 Monday 25 July 2016

Psalm: Psalm 126


It is only natural to want the best for your children. So it isperhaps understandable that "the mother of the sons of Zebedee" (v.20) comes to Jesus to ask if he would grant her children a specialplace of honour in the coming kingdom. Whether this is whatactually happened, or whether - as in the Mark's Gospel (Mark10:35-45) - James and John make the request themselves, Jesusdirects his response to the 'boys'. In the context of the Gospel,the ensuing discussion allows Jesus to stress again his approachingdeath, but also to underline the very nature of the kingdom that heseeks to establish.

It is a kingdom in which honour comes through humility.

It is a kingdom in which status is understood in terms ofservice, and in which service is often delivered throughsacrifice.

Clearly, the major themes in these verses are service andsacrifice, but we note too, a subtext to the matter of status: itthreatened to disturb the harmony within the group (verse 24).Jesus' disciples had travelled with him now for three years,sharing many highs and lows along the way. They have listened tohim teach; they have watched as lives have been transformed throughhis servant ministry; they have shared in the great faithadventure. And yet, the harmony of the team is disturbed as soon assome members believe they should be treated with special merit andhonour.

The desire for special status has disturbed, distracted anddismayed the group. How easy it is to cause upset and trouble incommunities - even communities of faith - when we think we shouldbe treated as 'the special one'.

To Ponder

  • Was there a time in your life when you felt under pressure tomeet the expectations of others? What challenges did thisbring?
  • In your experience, to what extent is the Church hierarchical?Is this necessary, a necessary evil or unnecessary? Why?
  • Who has demonstrated a servant ministry for you today? And howhave you been a servant to someone else?
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