Monday 25 July 2022

Bible Book:

'Whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant.' (v. 26b)

Matthew 20:20-28 Monday 25 July 2022

Psalm  126


Between Jesus speaking of his coming suffering and his entry into Jerusalem comes a sandwich: two disciples seeking promotion and two blind men seeking their sight form the slices of bread; the filling is Jesus’ teaching on humility in leadership (our reading today).

Before the sandwich comes the parable of the workers in the vineyard where the last to start work are paid the same as those who started early; it shows God chooses to pay according to need, rather than deserts. After the sandwich, Jesus enters Jerusalem as a king on a donkey; the opposite of the kings who rule with iron fists, as they do in Rome.

This episode appears also in Mark’s Gospel, but the disciples themselves ask to sit next to Jesus, whereas in Matthew's Gospel their mother asks for them. In Luke’s version of this, the disciples are not named so that the example of Jesus is highlighted. In our reading today (Matthew's Gospel) Jesus asks if they can drink from the same cup – an allegory used in Isaiah and elsewhere for suffering. In Mark’s Gospel, he asks if they can share the same baptism. The meaning is much the same. To be a follower of Jesus is to suffer for others, to bear the wrath of God for the injustices perpetrated by human beings, not to rise through the ranks through personal favours. Advancement through personal relationships only causes dissension and unrest; the opposite of the leadership of Christ and his followers.

To Ponder:

  • Think about leaders you are aware of in Church and/or the world. Who do they serve? Does promotion lead to to a more difficult life, or to personal favour, or to something else?
  • Think of your own life; are you ambitious for approval? In what ways do you put the needs of others before your own? What conflicts arise from this?
  • If you have children, how involved do you get in their achievements, and do you ever find it tempting to pull strings to help them on their way?


God, there is so much I yearn for in love of you. Sometimes it’s mixed up with my own longing for recognition and worth. Help me to find value in simply being who you made me to be, and to let you deal with those around me and the affairs of the world. But if you need me to speak out, let me know, and grant me enough courage.

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