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2007-09-23_To Jerusalem_Matthew 20.17-34_SL

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To Jerusalem

Matthew 20:17-34   |   Shaun LePage   |   September 23, 2007

I.       Introduction

A.    Old Legend: Man fell into quicksand; Confucius: “It is evident that men should stay out of places such as this.” Buddha: “Let that man’s plight be a lesson to the rest of the world.” Muhammad: “Alas, it is the will of Allah.” Finally, Jesus: “Take my hand, I’ll save you.”

B.    Matt wrote to answer: Who is Jesus? Why did He come? What did He do? What difference does it make? All the difference!

C.    Last few steps before Jesus enters Jerusalem make it clear: Jesus on a mission! High cost!

II.     Body—Matthew 20:17-34

A.    Jesus predicted the cross—the Life became the condemned. (17-19)

1.     (17) “to Jerusalem” 16:21: “From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things…” 16:13: Caesarea Philippi; 17:1: Mt. Hermon; 17:22 Galilee; 17:24 Capernaum; 19:1 Judea; 20:29 Jericho; 21:10 Jerusalem;

2.     (18-19) 7 specific, amazing prophecies: 1) delivered to Jews; 2) condemned to death; 3) handed over to Gentiles (Romans); 4) mock; 5) scourge; 6) crucify; 7) raised 3rd day—at least third time predicted, first time to say “betray, mock, scourge and crucify”; not told how disciples responded this time—remember 16:24?; Luke tells us they didn’t understand any of it—preconceived notions clogged their ears

3.     Again, v.16—world’s upside down; The Life, Lifegiver was going to die

4.     First great contrast: Jesus chose death to impart life—Judas, Jewish leaders and Gentiles (Romans) chose to betray, condemn, mock, flog and crucify.

B.    Jesus refused a request—the first became the last. (20-24)

1.     (20-21) Zebedee’s sons were James & John; “right and left” places of honor; Not listening? Going to die—jockeying for best throne? Last thing they heard was prophecy in 19:28 (12 on thrones); ambitious mother? “can’t say no to mom!”?

2.     (22) “Don’t know what you’re asking”—thinking only of honor, position and prestige but ignoring the cross or “the cup” (OT prophets “cup of wrath”); foolishly “we can” (not just mom’s idea)—glory without the cross; Jesus was patient with them…

3.     (23) in reality they would share the cup, but still didn’t know what they were asking and best to leave it that way for now. James first of 12 martyred (Acts 12); John died in exile on the prison island of Patmos;

4.     Jesus did not grant request; first (honored disciples) became the last in a sense—sought honor in this life but got shot down; really a prayer! asking Jesus for their will, not the Father’s (how often might God say to us when we pray: You don’t know what you are asking”); Jesus—in flesh—submitted Himself to the Father’s authority for a time, but one day will judge with the Father

5.     Second contrast: Jesus stepped down from His throne, 12 fighting over theirs; Jesus chose to step down from His position of honor in submission to the Father—the wife and sons of Zebedee chose to lobby for honor and position.

6.     (24) selfish lobbying for honor caused trouble with the other 10

C.    Jesus taught true greatness—the King became a Servant. (25-28)

1.     (25) Jesus called the self-absorbed disciples together—teachable moment, preparing disciples for His departure; bad example of Gentile rulers—typically tyrants

2.     (26-27) “Not so with you”—again, v.16 upside down; great=servant, first=slave; one of great leadership lessons of NT—servant leadership; did not condemn “greatness” or “authority” but the wrong understanding of and abuse of—we need God’s definition of success; Dr. Paul Rees wrote, “If you want a picture of success as heaven measures it, of greatness as God views it, don’t look for the blaring of the bands on Broadway; listen, rather, for the tinkle of water splashing into a basin, while God incarnate, in a humility that makes angels hold their breaths, sponges the grime from the feet of His undeserving disciples.”

3.     (28) Jesus greatest example of servant leadership (not inferior, but choice)—Ph2:5-8; purpose statement: came to serve and give his life as a ransom (associated with idea of redemption; only biblical Christianity—helpless humanity, God paid highest price to purchase those He loves! suffering servant of Is 53 (Messiah a guilt offering)

4.     3rd contrast: Jesus (truly great) chose to give up His great authority so that he could serve—the Gentile rulers chose to lord their little authority.

D.    Jesus granted a request—the last became the first. (29-34)

1.     (29-31) large crowd, no one had compassion for 2 blind men—“rebuked…be quiet”—thought Jesus was going to Jerusalem to establish kingdom, better things to do than deal with blind beggars; “Son of David”—acknowledged Jesus as Messiah

2.     (32) Who stopped? Jesus (one the crowd was following); asked same basic question He asked in v.21;

3.     (33-34) “we want our sight” (just as selfish as throne request? Maybe, but “mercy…sight” quite different than early reward; Beautiful words: “Jesus had compassion” (at least 4th time); touched and healed (no longer told to be quiet as in past); links death and healing ministry—not a random story; death of the Suffering Servant of Is53 closely linked with healing; 8:16-17—Jesus fulfilled this prophecy during His earthly healing ministry. No biblical reason to expect on-going fulfillment—physical healing in the atonement. We’re healed of sin because of the cross (1 Pet 2:24-25); ultimate physical healing later—in heaven (Rev 21:4); literal healing authenticated Him as Messiah and His message—notice: Jesus granted this request because it was the will of the Father (part of Jesus’ earthly healing ministry) so “the last became first”

4.     4th contrast: Jesus (Son of David) had compassion, but crowd (nobodies) rebuked and tried to shut them up

III.   Closing (back of handout): Two great truths stand out here: Work of Christ and Example of Christ

A.    The Work of Christ

1.     cross, cup, why? Ransom many (one of first pictures of God—seeking sinful Adam; God a policeman? No—Father seeking lost child); compassion for desperate, full of mercy

2.     Ask yourself:

a)     Am I ransomed/redeemed? 1 Ti 2:3-6; Col 1:13-14

b)     Am I living like it? 1 Co 6:18-20

B.    The Example of Christ

1.     Jesus held Himself up as the perfect example in v.28; The First became last;

a)     Lifegiver became the condemned (ultimate sacrifice for others);

b)     Son submitted to the Father;

c)     the King became a Servant;

d)     The Lord had compassion for the lowly

2.     Ask yourself how God wants you to follow the example of Christ:

a)     Do I demand a crown or choose a cross of obedience like Jesus?

b)     Do I lobby for a throne or drink the cup of God’s will like Jesus?

c)     Do I selfishly seek power or selflessly serve like Jesus?

d)     Do I shut out the needy or have compassion like Jesus?

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