Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 20:17-28 – 2nd WEEK OF LENT: Wednesday, 20 March 2019
For the third time, on their way to Jerusalem, Jesus predicts His coming suffering, death and resurrection. Matthew locates the incident at Jericho (see verse 30), an oasis town in the Jordan valley. From here the road begins to climb the last few miles up to Jerusalem.
The reaction of the disciples shows that they have not grasped Jesus’ brand of messiahship. The Mother of James and John (in Mark the two disciples make their own request) interrupts to ask that her sons get a short cut to glory, i.e. each to have a place of honor in Jesus’ Kingdom (v. 21). Jesus’ response is that there is no short cut to spiritual glory or spiritual life. We cannot bypass the cross. Joining in Jesus’ mission will include suffering rather than the trappings of power (verses 22-23).
The jealousy of the other disciples at the maneuver of Zebedee’s sons causes Jesus to spell out even further that greatness in His Kingdom is determined by selfless service, not power and rank (vs 25-28).
Service, love, unselfishness – these words are attractive to most people. But how often do they really become values that animate our everyday decisions? Like Zebedee’s sons we reach for security and prestige rather then the cup Jesus drink.
Jakarta, 20 March 2019
A Christian Pilgrim