Summary: The road which the Lord sets before us is not easy. It requires us to give up our selfish ambition, and to walk the path of service.
FOLLOWING IN HIS FOOTSTEPS.
Jesus was a patient teacher. The Lord reminded His disciples that His journey to Jerusalem would precipitate events which would lead to His death and resurrection. This was why He came into the world. It was not outside His control (Matthew 20:17-19).
1. Even in the midst of such solemn teaching, the disciples were still preoccupied with their sense of the grandeur of the kingdom of God. They could envisage Christ in all His glory, and yet remained deaf to the message of the cross.
The mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, was particularly concerned about what status they might have in the coming kingdom. She desired that they might be seated, the one on His right and the other on His left (Matthew 20:20-21).
Jesus reproved the brothers. They were asking something which even Jesus, the Son of God, was not at liberty to give. He challenged them to consider that they too must partake in His sufferings before they would enter into His glory (Matthew 20:22-23).
There is nothing lacking in the sacrificial nature of Christ’s offering of Himself on our behalf. However, the afflictions of the Church on His behalf are not yet completed. I am sure that this is the basis of Saint Paul’s teaching in Colossians 1:24!
The other ten disciples were indignant at James and John (Matthew 20:24). It seemed as if their earlier argument about ‘who was the greatest?’ (cf. Matthew 18:1) remained unresolved. The genuinely great men of God are not those who intrude upon some high office in the Church or State, but those who humbly serve the needs of others.
The supreme example of service is that of Christ Himself. He came “not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life as a ransom for (in place of) many” (Matthew 20:28). Here Jesus outlines the full extent of His own unique sacrifice in the context of an attitude of service to be followed.
Jesus came into this world so that He might pay the penalty of our sins. His was the ultimate sacrifice to reconcile us to God. Our Lord satisfied the justice of God. He gave His life so that we might be redeemed from the condemnation of God’s law. Jesus died so that we might have eternal life. He saves us from the terrors of hell, and prepares us for His kingdom. It is only by claiming the sacrifice which Jesus has made on our behalf that we ever find peace with God.
The road which the Lord sets before us is not easy. It requires us to give up our selfish ambition, and to walk the path of service. Yet it is a route which leads to a crown of glory for ALL who follow Jesus.
2. Jesus came to Jericho, with His disciples and a great multitude (Matthew 20:29). That there were two blind men by the roadside is no strange thing. Hearing that it was “Jesus of Nazareth”, the blind men began to cry out and say, “Have mercy on us O Lord, Son of David” (Matthew 20:30).
‘Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near’ (Isaiah 55:6). He may not again be passing this way!
The more the crowd tried to silence them, the more urgently they cried, “Have mercy on us O Lord, Son of David” (Matthew 20:31). Not only did these men, blind though they were, recognise who Jesus is, but they were going to seek, ask, knock until they got their desired result (cf. Matthew 7:7-8). Importunity in the face of adversity!
Having stopped in His tracks, Jesus called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (Matthew 20:32).
Do you hear the call of Jesus? Do you hear others calling you in His name? Do you hear Him calling you to call others in His name?
It may seem a strange question: but are we ready to receive the responsibility for all that Jesus has to give us? Without hesitation came the reply: “Lord, that our eyes may be opened” (Matthew 20:33).
These men had faith to believe that Jesus is the “Son of David”, i.e. the Messiah. Second, they had the faith to believe that Jesus had the power of God to restore their sight. So Jesus had compassion, and touched their eyes, “and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him” (Matthew 20:34).
Lord, give us sight, that we may see You, and follow You in the way!