Summary: Their mommy spoke for them. Jesus answered that the way up is down. His PASSION PREDICTED, the PATHWAY PRESCRIBED, the POWER PROVIDED. Link inc. to formatted text, audio, and PowerPoint Template.
Can I Be in Charge?
The Historian Josephus writes that every year at Passover 3 million Jews would ascend upon Jerusalem with 250,000 lambs. You and I know that each and every one of those lambs was a picture of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.
v. 17 Jesus and His disciples are making the same trek, up from the Jordan valley, but this time He will be the Lamb sacrificed, and He again tries to communicate this to His followers.
v. 18-19 This is the 3rd time Jesus has attempted to tell them about His approaching sacrificial death. Each time Jesus adds a few more details. It’s an awesome display of His divine foreknowledge.
1. Jesus’ Passion Predicted
In mathematics there is a law called the Law of Compound Probability, which simply says, the more details you add to a prediction, the less likely it is to come to pass.
Example: If I were to say to my wife, tomorrow I’m going to go shopping at the mall, she would fall over...but she would know that the probability of that coming true is pretty good, because often when she drags me there I’m actually saying, “I’m not going!” But if I begin adding details to that prediction then the probability of fulfillment reduces drastically. I could say, tomorrow I’m going to the mall and a stranger will approach and ask me 10 questions. That one detail by itself is unlikely to come to pass. But next I say, I will answer all 10 questions correctly, and when I do, he’s going to give me a check for 1 million dollars. The chances of this scenario taking place is almost ‘nil. Now suppose I add that I will tear that check up in his face...ladies and gentlemen, the chances of that happening are 0!
Every detail Jesus predicted happened to the letter. And the people of that day really should have recognized their Messiah if they knew their OT. But they were so wrapped up in their own traditions and rituals that they were a million miles away in their spiritual understanding. Let’s allow that to be a warning to us as we enter this holiday season, that these holidays are actually holy days, and that we must remember the reason for the season. Just as we must keep the Christ in Christmas we need to ask ourselves a question about Thanksgiving. To whom are we giving thanks? Millions in our country this week will celebrate thanksgiving without truly giving thanks...many not believing in the God they are supposedly thanking. Let’s never allow our tradition to blind us to the real reason for the season, and the truth.
The Jews should have known that Jacob predicted Jesus would come from the tribe of Judah.
Micah-born in Bethlehem
Isaiah-born of a virgin
Hosea-escape from Herod into Egypt
Jeremiah-Herod would kill all male babies in Bethlehem
Malachi-Jesus would have a forerunner [not Nissan, but John the Baptist]
Isaiah-begin His ministry in Galilee, heal the sick and work miracles
Zechariah-ride into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey
Daniel-predicted exact date He would present Himself
Zechariah-betrayed for 30 pieces of silver
Isaiah-scourged, beaten, spit upon
David-pierce hands and feet
Isaiah-crucified w/ thieves and buried in rich man’s tomb
Hundreds of years before His birth these details became a part of the OT scriptures, and they all came true. Don’t we serve a wonderful God?!
2. The Pathway Prescribed
v. 20-24 Before Jesus describes the path to greatness we need to understand this setting. James and John are cousins to the Lord Jesus, because their mother, Salome, was a sister to Mary. Perhaps they thought they had an inside track in making this foolish and selfish request. Jesus is talking about the cross, and these guys are worried about a crown. Jesus is focused on His suffering, and James and John are focused on seating arrangements in heaven, wondering if they will have big thrones beside Him. While Jesus is on His way to ultimate humility, they think it’s a good time to ask for a promotion.
Jesus answers them and tells them about the price to pay on the path to greatness. The other disciples were piping hot at hearing this...maybe because they didn’t ask first! Before we criticize all 12 of them too much, we can commend their faith, for He had told them they would rule and reign w/ Him and have thrones in heaven.
v. 25-28 Jesus says, it won’t work the way you are used to. The world climbs the ladder of success by stepping on hands and heads at every rung. You climb higher as you push others downward. But Jesus says the way up is down. He uses the word minister, which means servant, coming from the Greek word [deacon]. A deacon is not a person of power and authority, but a position of servanthood.