Tuesday in the Twenty-Second Week of Ordinary Time

Matthew 20:17-28; Mark 10:32-45; Luke 18:31-34

The Contrast Between Jesus and His Disciples – and Us

Jesus knows that the time has come and he must go to Jerusalem.  Mark says that he was “walking ahead of them,” such that his disciples were amazed and afraid.  They knew that visits to Jerusalem never went well, and that Jesus had warned them about their next visit.  And just then he turns around and warns them a third time in what had been a matter of just a few short weeks or months: We are going to Jerusalem and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests who will condemn him and deliver him up to the Gentiles (Romans) who will mock, spit on, flog and otherwise shamefully treat him, and then crucify him. Then he will rise of the third day.  The disciples understand none of this, partly because they can’t comprehend a crucified Messiah, and partly because, as Luke adds, “This saying was hidden from them, and they did not grasp what was said,” indicating to me that a divine element was at work as well.  Sometimes God graciously shields us from what our minds simply can’t handle at a particularly trying time.

Then Matthew and Mark relate something that so completely shows the difference yet again between his disciples and himself.  (And we mustn’t be too hard on the disciples because they only mirror our own desire for vainglory.)  James and John and their mother approach Jesus asking to sit on his right hand and his left in his glory.  (One wonders if the boys would even argue over who gets the right hand and who the left.)  Jesus responds that they have no idea what they are asking and then says, “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”  They foolishly say, “We are able,” and Jesus affirms that one day they will, knowing that on that day they will both realize what that cup contains and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, drink it to the dregs.  But at this precise moment, their request is filled with ignorance and egotism.  The disciples hear of it and are indignant but not for the right reasons; after all, they each thought that those places were already reserved for themselves.  Jesus then explains to them that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over the people; Jesus’ disciples do not.  In the Kingdom, the greatest is the servant of all, and if they ever need an example, just look at the Son of Man (the greatest of all) who came “to give his life a ransom for many.”

We may shake our heads at how self-centered the disciples could be, especially after Jesus’ third warning of the suffering awaiting him in Jerusalem.  May we remember our Lord’s suffering for us when we have dreams of glory, and may we remember that glory is Kingdom service.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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