Monday 26 July 2010

Bible Book:

"'Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?' They said to him, 'We are able.'" (v.22)

Matthew 20:20-28 Monday 26 July 2010


Nowhere more so than in this passage does Jesus lay it on theline that the word of God is a verb, not a noun. It is not a wordto be heard, end of story; it is something to be done, a life to belived.

To our ears, the mother of James and John sounds like a pushy mumwho believes her children are rising stars - though the response ofthe other disciples suggests that they think the Zebedee brothersalso have some brass neck. The fact is, no-one really understandswhat is being asked here.

For the reader however, the Gospel writer Matthew reveals thedemands that God's kingdom will bring by placing this incidentdirectly after Jesus' most detailed prediction of what is to happento him in Jerusalem (verses 17 to 19). If Jesus is about to becrucified, do his followers really believe that they are going toget off scot free? Enacting the word of God (ie making God'skingdom vision a reality) involves becoming a 'servant' to others -a word, which in the original Greek describes a menial tableserver. In the Gospel of John, Jesus makes the same point bywashing his disciples' feet before their last meal together (John13:1-20).

Jesus develops the idea of servanthood further by saying that aservant's job is "to give his life a ransom for many" - literally,to purchase the freedom of other slaves, God's people.

All this should give pause to anyone who remembers the life ofJesus by drinking from a communion cup during the service of HolyCommunion. "Are you able to drink the cup that I am about todrink?" Jesus demands. When you hear the word of God, will you walkthe walk as well as talk the talk?

To Ponder

Can you identify one way in which you are aservant to others? Does that feel oppressive to you or is it aliberating expression of your faith?

How would you explain Jesus' words to someone whowas a survivor of abuse or bullying?

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