God’s Faithful Word of Life
Matthew 20:20-34: The mother of James and John asks a special favor of Jesus on behalf of her sons, and Jesus uses the opportunity to teach the disciples about servanthood. The chapter concludes with Jesus healing two blind men.
Today's Scripture: 20:26b, 27
[Jesus said]: “If one of you wants to be great, you must be the servant of the rest; and if one of you wants to be first, you must be the slave of the others.”
A Mother's Request
20Then the wife of Zebedee came to Jesus with her two sons, bowed before him, and asked him for a favor.
21“What do you want?” Jesus asked her.
She answered, “Promise me that these two sons of mine will sit at your right and your left when you are King.”
22“You don't know what you are asking for,” Jesus answered the sons. “Can you drink the cup of suffering that I am about to drink?”
“We can,” they answered.
23“You will indeed drink from my cup,” Jesus told them, “but I do not have the right to choose who will sit at my right and my left. These places belong to those for whom my Father has prepared them.”
24When the other ten disciples heard about this, they became angry with the two brothers.25 So Jesus called them all together and said, “You know that the rulers of the heathen have power over them, and the leaders have complete authority.26 This, however, is not the way it shall be among you. If one of you wants to be great, you must be the servant of the rest;27and if one of you wants to be first, you must be the slave of the others—28like the Son of Man, who did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life to redeem many people.”
Jesus Heals Two Blind Men
(Mark 10.46-52; Luke 18.35-43)
29As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd was following.30Two blind men who were sitting by the road heard that Jesus was passing by, so they began to shout, “Son of David! Have mercy on us, sir!”
31The crowd scolded them and told them to be quiet. But they shouted even more loudly, “Son of David! Have mercy on us, sir!”
32Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked them.
33“Sir,” they answered, “we want you to give us our sight!”
34Jesus had pity on them and touched their eyes; at once they were able to see, and they followed him.
The most powerful people in a kingdom sat directly at the right and left sides of a ruler. What do you think was the motive behind the mother’s request? How did Jesus respond? How did Jesus define his mission (verse 28)? In what ways do you and your community serve others?
Holy Jesus, your kingdom is marked by life-giving service and not by ambition, power, or dominance. Teach me the ways of humble service and to follow you. Amen.
Acts 9:1-25: Saul, a persecutor of the church, becomes an apostle for the Lord.