Today’s Gospel: Matthew 20:17-28
Jesus is contemplating for the third time His upcoming death and resurrection in this Gospel reading. He talks about what lies ahead for Him while walking with the disciples to Jerusalem. He talks about being condemned to death, being mocked, scourged and crucified after being handed over to the scribes and chief priests. This is frightening to the disciples as they accompany Him with trepidation.
He then tells them He will be raised up on the third day. The concept of Jesus suffering and then being raised was puzzling to them.
Then the focus of the Gospel takes a shift, when the mother of sons of Zebedee approaches Jesus with a favor. She asked that her sons sit with Him in His kingdom, one on the right and the other on the left. This brings more confusion from the disciples. They had been following Jesus for a long time, yet this mother asked about her sons being on his side in his kingdom. They assumed they would be receiving a reward of this magnitude since they were Jesus’ long-time followers.
Jesus answers them: “You don’t know what you are asking. Are you capable of drinking the chalice that Jesus will drink because it is the chalice of suffering?” Jesus responds to the woman that the one who grants her request will be His Father. What Jesus will offer is baptism and suffering and the cross.
The disciples are learning from this response that they need the correct motivation for their ministry. Their ministry was to preach His word and serve His people. True service is about helping one another for the sake of helping not for getting something in return.
The disciples ask Jesus for a favor and so does the mother of the two sons. His response is He can only promise suffering, which will lead them back to Him. How do we accept pain and suffering in our lives?
God of love and truth, please give me the courage to love and give back to others with grace. You are my refuge and with You I will seek redemption.
Copyright 2019 Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh
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