PLUS Resource: 6 Prayers for When You Are Fighting Anxiety

Matthew 20

SUMMARY.--The Householder and the Laborers. Those Hired at the Eleventh Hour. The Recompense to All. The Lord's Sufferings at Jerusalem Portrayed. The Ambition of the Mother of Zebedee's Sons. The Baptism of Suffering. Two Blind Men Healed at Jericho.

      20. Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children. Salome, the mother of the apostles James and John, and supposed by many to be the sister of the mother of Jesus. Compare Mark 10:32-45 Luke 18:31-34 .

      21. What wilt thou? We learn from Mark that they asked him to grant what they wished before they stated it, after the manner of Herod to the daughter of Herodias, but he forced them to state their ambitious desire. The mother speaks for them. Sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. They still believed that he would be an earthly monarch, notwithstanding that he had just told them of his speedy death.

      22. Ye know not what ye ask. An illustration, this of ignorant prayer. Within a month they saw the places on his right hand and left occupied by the two thieves in the crucifixion. Are ye able to drink of the cup? The cup is an Old Testament image of a man's lot, or portion, as holding what of life God pours out for him. Be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with? Baptism is the necessary condition by which one can enjoy the privileges of the church. The cup signifies suffering voluntarily taken, or "drunk," and the baptism what is endured at the hands of others. We are able. They no doubt thought they were. They loved their Lord, as well as pre-eminence, and felt that they were willing to go with him through suffering. They, however, overestimated their strength.

      23. Ye shall drink indeed of my cup. They cannot do it now, but in due time they shall follow him; they shall rise to their calling, and bravely meet all its risks and hardships. See Acts 12:1 Acts 12:2 . Is not mine to give. The highest honors of his kingdom were not now to be disposed of by him to gratify the worldly ambition of any one. For whom it is prepared. The Father had a plan in reference to the honors of the kingdom. The lowliest would be the loftiest. They who gave up most would get most.

      24. The ten . . . were moved with indignation. The indignation of the "ten" displayed the same spirit and motive as the request of the sons of Zebedee. It is very common that in the very act of condemning our brethren we are guilty of the same or worse faults than those we condemn.

      25. Jesus called them to him. Evidently their indignation had been outspoken, but not in the immediate presence of the Lord. The princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion. In order to present the contrast between the kingdom as it would be and as they expected it, he pointed out the nature of Gentile rule. The princes "lorded over" the people.

      26. It shall not be so among you. No such lordship, no such authority, can be tolerated in your fraternity. The case is a rebuke of unhallowed ambition. Men prominent in the church should be the first to heed the admonition. Such priestly despotism as the absolute rule of the Catholic, Greek, and of some Protestant churches is at variance with this principle. Whosoever will be great . . . let him be your minister. Your deacon, servant. Greatness in the kingdom of heaven consists in doing, rather than in being, and in doing for others, rather than for self. Greatness is to be found in service. Only those men are truly great who are the servants of their race, helpers of mankind.

      27. Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant. In the church, the greatest one is he who serves most and best.

      28. Give his life as a ransom. Our Lord came to serve. He even gave his life. He became our ransom; that is, he redeemed us by his blood.

      29. As they departed from Jericho. He had now crossed the Jordan. At Jericho he saved Zaccheus. Compare Mark 10:46-52 and Luke 18:35-43 . Jericho stood a few miles from the southern ford of the Jordan, on the road to Jerusalem, which was about eighteen miles distant. He left Jericho for Jerusalem on Friday, just a week before his crucifixion.

      30. Two blind men. Mark and Luke Mk 10:46 Luke 18:35 name only one, blind Bartimæus, probably well known and hence named.

      31. Have mercy on us, thou Son of David. This was virtually acknowledging Jesus as the Christ, who was to be the Son of David.

      32. Jesus stood still. He does not object now to this title. Compare Matt. 9:27 . He is now about to proclaim himself the Messiah.

      34. Jesus . . . touched their eyes. The faith of the blind men had saved them. Compare Mark and Luke Mk 10:52 Luke 18:42 . Faith saved. The blind Bartimæus (1) asked about Jesus as he passed; (2) cried to him as the Son of David, the Messiah; (3) asked for mercy; (4) kept on crying when they tried to stop him; (5) when permitted, sprang up and hurried to Jesus; (6) asked of him to receive his sight. This is faith in action.

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