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Jesus -- the Guru #39

D. Establishing the New Religion

Read Matthew 20:17-28.

Jesus Again Predicts His Death

17Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them,18“We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death19and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

A Mother’s Request

20Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.

21“What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”

22“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered.

23Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”

24When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.25Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.26Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,27and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Once again, Jesus teaches the same two lessons to His disciples in these closing days of His ministry among them. The Master teaches the commitment of discipleship, in v. 23. Jesus knows He is about to receive the “cup” of suffering and death. (vv. 18-19) He knows His disciples will face the same struggles against evil and oppression: “Are you ready?” (v. 22)

Even more important, the Master once again teaches what the true religion of the rule of God is. God’s religion is not seeking status and control and authority as in the religion of rules. God’s religion frees us from all that. .

We no longer need to try to make ourselves good enough. We no longer need to focus on rules. We no longer need to compare ourselves with other.

Instead, we are free to think only of others. In God’s religion, then, who is “great”? (vv. 26-27) How is this greatness different from the greatness in the religion of rules?

Finally, Jesus prepares His disciples to understand the difficult events that are about to happen. (vv. 18-19) Jesus is about to do the greatest act of service of all time. The Master is about to free all people from the burden of sin, not only with His teaching but with His life

Remember the meaning of the name “Jesus”? (Mt. 1:21) Jesus was about to fulfill the ultimate purpose for which the Father sent Him to earth. He was going to Jerusalem to be betrayed and mocked and flogged and crucified, “giving His life as a ransom for many.” (v. 28)

Jesus was going to bring the Kingdom of heaven, the rule of God, to earth, in the forgiveness of sin. This is the true religion of the God of love. Do you want to be a part of that religion?


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