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Matthew 20:17-24: Son of Man will be betrayed

Posted by adventbiblestudy on May 30, 2012


Matthew 20:17-24 NLTse As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. (18) “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. (19) Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” (20) Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. (21) “What is your request?” he asked. She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” (22) But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?” “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!” (23) Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.” (24) When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant.

 

Jesus just shared the parable of the landowner who went out to hire three groups of workers at different times, paying all of them the same wages. James and John had trouble seeing how this parable applied to them. They worked hard all their lives. As fishermen they often rose before the sun in certain seasons, and worked far into the night during other times. Since they were small boys they pulled their own weight. They had no idea what it was like to stand and wait for a job, or work a half day.

 

After giving the disciples ample time to consider the lesson about, “those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.” He had hoped they were questioning why He used the word, “then.” He prayed His disciples were learning how to look past the present time to the work and reward ahead. Only by understanding the reward could they fully appreciate the work.

 

Jesus’ heart was heavy. He had been with His disciples for about three years. Over the years He had grown to love each one more as the days passed. For a moment the grief of leaving His friends filled His heart. He knew what they needed to hear. Before He could share the next lesson, He knew He needed to focus on the reward. This reminded Him of how much His disciples really needed the proper encouragement.

 

As Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him. “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”

 

They stood in shock. Each one wanted to question Jesus, but the look on His face told them how serious He was. No one said a word. Each disciple contemplated exactly what Jesus said. The priests and Pharisees had been following, questioning, and criticizing Jesus since the beginning of His ministry. At first the disciples thought someone would betray Jesus by sharing the lessons He taught. That didn’t make any sense since Jesus freely shared everything He taught. Why, how could they sentence Jesus to death? What crime did He commit? What law did He break? Many of the disciples silently pledged to watch Jesus closely, making certain He would never give a reason for the priests to charge Him.

 

After what seemed like hours of silence the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. “What is your request?” he asked. She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?” “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!” Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.”

 

The other disciples looked at James and John, wondering why they allowed their mother to ask such a question. They felt insulted by the request. They considered it a challenge. Some of them allowed their minds to process a number of schemes to gain favor with Jesus. The competitive atmosphere made them forget what Jesus just told them about the trip to Jerusalem. The quest for greatness over shadowed the prophecy Jesus found so difficult to share with them.

 

With sadness Jesus sat watching His disciples as they reacted to the request of John and James’ mother. As He prayed, He could see this was their way of dealing with the news of His crucifixion. Jesus also had a difficult time dealing with it. During His last days He hoped to gain some comfort from His closest friends. He hoped to spend some time discussing the subject of His sacrifice, to gain a form of comfort, and provide a measure for His disciples. Jesus could see, it was not the time to reveal this to them. He had no one else to turn to, but to His Father.

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