17 Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, 18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.” (Matt 20:17-19; NKJV)
This week, I would like to make some observations from Matthew 20 verses 17-28. We will focus on what Jesus teaches regarding greatness in the Kingdom of Heaven and the implications to our own leadership and service.
Before we get into the conversation Jesus has with His disciples, I wanted to set the stage. I think the context for the ask that is coming after verse 20 is important.
We read here that Jesus has set His mind to go to Jerusalem and more specifically He has set His mind to offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins and to fulfill what His Father had sent Him to do. That is what is on Jesus’ mind…the full weight of the eternal, physical, and spiritual situation. He even takes a minute to explain it to His followers. He says very clearly that He will be betrayed, condemned to death, delivered to the enemy, mocked, scourged, and crucified! Ultimately, He will rise victorious but think about how heavy Jesus’ heart must have been working through in His mind all that He would endure. That is what is on Jesus’ mind and heart.
So what do the disciples get from that? Now I am not being overly critical here because they did not yet fully appreciate the fact Jesus was not going to establish an earthly kingdom. They did not fully understand all that He has taught them and probably couldn’t truly comprehend that their Messiah would “fail” like that…lose…fall to the enemy. So let’s not be too hard on them but lets look at ourselves and ask “do we ever do that?”
What do I mean? I am asking us to consider for ourselves if there is ever a time that God has put us in a significant situation for the furtherance of His gospel and the delivering of His people and instead of seeing what God sees, we get focused on what we see. From this perspective, do we start asking “what’s in it for me?” or “how do I benefit in this?” Maybe not. Maybe this isn’t something you struggle with. If you are like me though, you have and you do.
We are selfish and our spirit wars against our flesh. It did for Paul…it does for us. The work we are involved in for Jesus in our homes, within the Body, at work, with strangers…it is important work and the consequences of our not getting out of our own way and seeing as God sees is sobering. It is sobering in terms eternity. These are souls we are talking about.
Thankfully, we have Jesus. We have His word. We have each other. We are not alone in this and though we might get overly focused on ourselves, we can find correction and encouragement in the Bible and from our brethren. We aren’t supposed to get it perfect. We are supposed to be perfected through God’s power in our lives. It takes time and study to know, understand, and apply God’ word to our lives so that when moments like this come into our path, we can see it as God see’s it. We can stoop down, humble ourselves, deny ourselves, take up our cross, follower our Savior and rise in the greatness of His work and His awesome power.
Let’s start here for the week. Take some time and read Matthew 20 and look for the lessons that apply to your life. We are going to look at how we can get out of focus, how Jesus teaches us to see things differently, to be the least results in greatness, and to do so because He is our King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I am so thankful for Him and for you!