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Daily Bible Verses | The Gospel Of Saint MatthewDaily Bible Verses For Lent

Daily Bible Verses For Lent | The Mother Of The Sons Of Zebedee | You Will Drink My Cup | Jesus Journeys To Jerusalem

Audio Bible | Lent | Jesus | Mother Of The Sons Of Zebedee

Matthew 20: 17-28 – Lent Week 2, Wednesday (Audio Bible, Spoken Word)

17 ¶ And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them,
18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,
19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
20 ¶ Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.
21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.
22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.
23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.
24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.
25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

As the disciples accompany Jesus on the way to Jerusalem, so we are asked to unite ourselves to Jesus in his passion and death, so that we may share in his resurrection and accompany Jesus in his glory as Holy Week culminates in Easter.

Jesus tells his disciples once more of the fate which awaits him in Jerusalem. This is to prepare them, so that they may not be scandalized by his crucifixion, particularly in the light of his having taught them about the judgement to come, lest they have assumed that this were to be an earthly judgement by the kind of Messiah which the Jews awaited. Christ gives some detail of his passion: he will be mocked and scourged and crucified. He knows the full extent of the commitment he has undertaken and shares some of this with his disciples.

The disciples do not understand the true message of Jesus and persist in their personal ambition, perhaps thinking to seek a reward for having followed him so far, and this in an earthly kingdom. Salome, the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, shows this ambition for her children, seeking to win them favour in an earthly kingdom. As Christ explains, she and they do not know what they are asking for; they do not know that truth to the Kingdom of Heaven Christ proclaims implies not earthly prestige and riches but service and martyrdom.

This is what Christ means when he asks them if they can drink of the same cup as he. Can they suffer? Their certainty is impressive, and Christ tells them they will drink his cup. James will die a martyr’s death in Jerusalem (cf. Acts 12: 2) and John will suffer imprisonment and corporal punishment (cf. Acts 4: 3, Acts 5: 40-41) prior to exile.

Jesus, then, explains something more of what is to come, both of the Father’s Kingdom and of how it will be on earth. Theirs is not to be a ministry in which one person lords it over another. They are called to serve. It is through a life of service that they, and we, may hope most to imitate Jesus.

‘Many times He freed them, urging them to persevere in His service. He called them to things of supreme importance by means of things of less importance, that is, he called them by shadows to those things which are real; he called them by temporal things to eternal things, by the carnal to the spiritual, by the earthly to the heavenly.’ St Irenaeus

Audio Bible KJV | Endnotes

Jesus Anticipates Crucifixion

As Jesus heads towards his crucifixion, he prepares and teaches his disciples to understand something of the meaning, the theology, of the crucifixion – the Cross, the Passion. The meaning is not simple, and cannot be adequately summarized in any definitive terms – at the level of human understanding. Within this Gospel passage, as Jesus dialogues with the mother of the sons of Zebedee, and with the ten of the disciples, something of the stereophonic aspects of the Passion narrative emerge. On the one hand, Jesus does indeed promise the Kingdom of God – of heaven. This is implicitly known in the Gospel of Saint Matthew. On the other, the outrage, the scandal of the Cross is not shied away from. Jesus will die. God will be united with a human corpse. We enter the story of Jesus’ crucifixion both from the perspective of Easter, and the after-knowledge of Christ’s resurrection, and from the perspective of the story as yet untold, in the journey the first time with Jesus towards his Passion.

The Sign Of Jesus On The Cross

The Cross signifies both the triumph of resurrection and the scandal of Jesus’ death and. The Gospels offer different perspectives on the meaning of the Cross.

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus’ death on the Cross is portrayed as a stark and brutal event that leaves his followers confused and afraid. As Jesus cries out: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Mark 15:34) the darkness and despair of the moment is palpable. There is anguish. We need not seek to soften the reality of Jesus’ suffering by reading Jesus utterance as shorthand for the entirely of Psalm 22/21. In this Gospel, Jesus’ suffering and death are presented as fearful and in a narrative sense even terminal. There is a brief addition to the Gospel which recounts the resurrection – widely accepted as having been joined-on.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus’ death on the Cross is more clearly understood as the ultimate act of self-giving love. As he is mocked and beaten by the soldiers, Jesus refuses to defend himself, saying: ‘Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?’ (Matthew 26:53-54) Through his death on the Cross, Jesus offers the forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life to all who believe in him.

In the Gospel of Luke, the agony of Jesus’ death on the Cross is too portrayed as compassion and forgiveness. Even as he is being crucified, Jesus prays: ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ (Luke 23:34)

In the Gospel of John, Jesus’ death on the Cross is more completely envisaged as triumph and revelation. As Jesus declares, ‘It is finished,’ (John 19:30) he reveals his divine nature and fulfills his mission on earth. Jesus words have also been translated: ‘It is accomplished.’ Through his death and resurrection, Jesus offers the promise of eternal life to all who believe in him.

As the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:18: ‘For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.’ For Christians, the Cross is a symbol of hope and salvation, calling us to imitate Jesus’ self-giving love and to live lives of compassion, forgiveness, and service to others.

Interpretations Of The Meaning Of Jesus On The Cross

The meaning of the Cross has been debated and interpreted by theologians and religious authorities for centuries. One key concept is the idea of ‘substitutionary atonement’, which holds that Jesus’ death on the Cross was a sacrificial offering that paid the penalty for human sin, allowing believers to be reconciled with God.

Theologians and religious authorities have emphasized different aspects of the Cross. Catholic theology, for example, has emphasized the idea of the ‘paschal mystery’, which holds that Jesus’ death and resurrection were part of a larger cycle of death and rebirth that is central to the Christian message. Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote that ‘the Cross stands at the center of the Christian faith because it reveals the true nature of God’s love for us: a love that is willing to suffer and die for the sake of the beloved.’

Similarly, the Orthodox tradition has emphasized the idea of ‘deification’, which holds that through our participation in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, we can become more fully united with God and share in his divine nature.

As the hymn ‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross’ puts it: ‘Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.’

The meaning of the Cross has also been debated in relation to the concept of suffering. While the Cross is often seen as a symbol of triumph over suffering and death, it also represents the reality of human pain and the depth of God’s love for those who suffer.

Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: ‘Only the suffering God can help.’ For Bonhoeffer, the Cross represents God’s solidarity with humanity in our pain and brokenness, and reminds us that even in the midst of suffering, we are not alone.

Similarly, Catholic theologian Henri Nouwen wrote: ‘The Cross is the way to the resurrection, but it is also the way to the full revelation of the world’s suffering.’ For Nouwen, the Cross represents both the hope of resurrection and the reality of human suffering, and calls us to embrace both aspects of the Christian message.

In this way, the Cross represents a paradoxical combination of hope and despair, triumph and defeat, love and sacrifice. It reminds us that the Christian message is not one of easy answers or simple solutions, but rather of a deep and abiding love that is willing to suffer for the sake of others.

As the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2:5-8: ‘Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.’