Tuesday 25 July 2017

Bible Book:

“But 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 Tuesday 25 July 2017

Psalm: Psalm 126


Small gifts, compliments or submissive gestures can be dangerous- it could be that someone is about to ask a favour! There is acurious contradiction in this passage, the mother kneels and asks afavour, but what she wants is power for her sons and in the endJesus commends those who do not have power but those who serve. Thedesire for power runs down through human history.

Jesus' whole ministry was a rejection of traditional models ofpower; clearly he teaches and acts with authority, but in terms ofworldly power he has very little. In Jesus kingdom greatness isassociated with service, just as he always gave of himself andserved even to the point of giving his life. So the request of themother and her sons demonstrates for us that they really had notgrasped what Jesus was about or the way his teaching challenged thevalues they still held. The other ten disciples are perhaps notmuch better as they are indignant with James and John, and wesuspect from Jesus' reaction that they resent the request not thatthey have understood what Jesus is trying to teach. It must havebeen all the more worrying for Jesus that this seems to be not longbefore he goes to Jerusalem for the final time and to his death.(As a teacher, I find it particularly worrying if students don'tunderstand something fundamental just before the final exam!)

The disciples also misunderstand what the 'final exam' will be."To drink the cup" meant to accept your destined suffering, andJesus is trying to point out to them that they really don'tunderstand how it is going to end. They are thinking in terms ofearthly power, he is thinking about suffering. In his last freeminutes in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46) he prayed that the cup ofsuffering would pass from him, "yet not what I want but what youwant" (v. 39). His whole life honoured the Father, culminating inthe gift of his life. He had to risk that afterwards his disciplesreally will understand.

To Ponder

  • In what ways can you give esteem to those who serve rather thanthose who hold earthly power?
  • In every generation Jesus thinking on greatness is a challenge,how can you resist favouritism, mates' rates or other attempts tomisuse relationships to gain advantage?
Previous Page Monday 24 July 2017
Next Page Wednesday 26 July 2017