Matthew 20:17-34

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

JESUS’ PREDICTION OF HIS DEATH AND

RESURRECTION, HIS RESPONSE TO THE

REQUEST OF JAMES’ AND JOHN’S MOTHER,

AND HIS RESTORING SIGHT

TO TWO BLIND MEN

INTRODUCTION:

 

The Problems of the King includes the narrative about Jesus (19:3 - 23:39), the Olivet Discourse (24:1 - 25:46), and the concluding statement, Matthew 26:1-2(1) And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, (2) Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

 

The narrative about Jesus in chapter 20 includes His parable concerning the laborers (20:1-16), His prediction of His death and resurrection (20:17-19), His response to the request of James’ and John’s mother (20:20-28), and His restoring sight to two blind men (20:29-34).

We see –

    I.     JESUS’ PREDICTION OF HIS DEATH AND RESURRECTION – 20:17-19

 

We note that –

            A.  ON THE WAY TO JERUSALEM JESUS MET PRIVATELY WITH HIS TWELVE DISCIPLES – 20:17

 

Matthew 20:17 And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them.

 

It suggests while Jesus was going up (or ascending) to Jerusalem.

 

The reason Jesus is seen going up to Jerusalem is that the elevation of Jerusalem is higher than the elevation where He was coming from.

 

Took the twelve disciples apart in the way does not mean that He disassembled them so that they were in pieces; rather, it means that He took the twelve disciples aside privately on the road. They got off by themselves where He could speak to them privately.

 

And said unto them introduces a private conversation He had with them in order to prepare them for what He would soon experience.

 

We also note that –

            B.  IN THEIR MEETING, JESUS ADVISED HIS DISCIPLES THAT IN JERUSALEM HE WOULD BE HANDED OVER TO THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND SCRIBES AND CONDEMNED TO DEATH – 20:18

 

Matthew 20:18 Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death.

 

Behold is look or you see and is intended to gain the disciples’ attention.

 

We go up to Jerusalem is we are going up (or ascending) unto Jerusalem.

 

And the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes is and the Son of man will be handed over (i.e. turned over or given up) to the chief priests and scribes.

 

It is predictive of something which will definitely happen.

 

And they will condemn him to death is and they will sentence Him to death.

 

It is likewise predictive of something which will definitely happen.

 

In addition, we note that –

            C.  JESUS ALSO TOLD HIS DISCIPLES THAT HE WOULD BE HANDED OVER TO THE GENTILES WHO WOULD MOCK, SCOURGE, AND CRUCIFY HIM BUT THAT HE WOULD RISE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD ON THE THIRD DAY – 20:19

 

Matthew 20:19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.

 

And shall deliver him to the Gentiles is and they will deliver Him (i.e. hand Him over, turn Him over, or give Him up) to the Gentiles.

 

The tense and mood of shall deliver indicates that this will definitely happen.

 

They is the chief priests and the scribes.

 

The same word translated shall deliver in this verse was translated shall be betrayed in verse 18.

 

To mock (him) means that the Gentiles will subject Jesus to derision (i.e. will ridicule Him or will make fun of Him) and implies in word and in deed.

 

To scourge (him) means to whip (Him) or to flog (Him); and to crucify him means and to fasten (Him) to a cross, which was a Roman form of execution.

 

And the third day is and (or but) on the third day and includes the day of the crucifixion.

 

He shall rise again is He will rise again, and its tense and mood indicate that it is something which will definitely happen.

 

This is not the first time Jesus told something like this to His disciples.

 

Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

 

Matthew 17:22-2322 And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: 23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

We also see –

  II.     JESUS’ RESPONSE TO THE REQUEST OF JAMES’ AND JOHN’S MOTHER – 20:20-28

 

We note that –

            A.  THE MOTHER OF JAMES AND JOHN APPROACHED JESUS WITH HER SONS IN ORDER TO ASK HIM TO DO SOMETHING FOR HER – 20:20

 

Matthew 20:20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.

 

It means the mother of Zebedee’s sons approached Jesus with her sons.

 

The mother of Zebedee’s children is Salome.

 

Zebedee’s children is Zebedee’s sons, and their names are James and John.

 

With her sons indicates that James and John accompanied their mother as she approached Jesus.

 

Worshipping him implies worshiping Jesus and indicates that she was bowing down before Him, kneeling down before Him, or prostrating herself before Him.

 

And desiring a certain thing of him means and asking for (or requesting) something from Him.

 

 

We also note that –

            B.  SHE WANTED HER SONS TO HAVE THE TWO SEATS NEXT TO HIM IN HIS KINGDOM – 20:21

 

Matthew 20:21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.

 

And he (i.e. Jesus) said unto her (i.e. to Salome, the mother of James and John), What wilt thou? (i.e. Salome, what are you wishing?, what are you wanting?, or what are you desiring?).

 

She (i.e. Salome) saith unto him (i.e. says to Him, to Jesus).

 

Grant is say or declare.

 

What Salome wanted Jesus to declare is that these my two sons (i.e. James and John) may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.

 

She wanted her sons to be given the privilege of occupying the two seats nearest to Jesus in His coming kingdom.

 

Next, we see that –

            C.  JESUS ADVISED JAMES AND JOHN THAT THEY DID NOT REALIZE WHAT THEY WERE ASKING AND ASKED THEM IF THEY WERE ABLE TO GO THROUGH WHAT HE WAS ABOUT TO EXPERIENCE, AND THEY RESPONDED THAT THEY WERE ABLE – 20:22

 

Matthew 20:22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.

 

But Jesus answered and said suggests Jesus answered and replied.

 

Ye know not what ye ask is you do not know what you are asking.

 

Ye is plural and is referring to James and John rather than to their mother even though she is the one who asked the question in the previous verse. It suggests that they put her up to asking this question.

 

Jesus’ reply continues, Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? is, Are you able to drink the cup which I am about to drink and to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized? The cup Jesus would drink and the baptism with which He would be baptized both refer to what Jesus was going to experience in Jerusalem which He stated in verses 18-19.

 

He is about to be betrayed to the chief priests and scribes, to be condemned to death, and to be delivered to the Gentiles to mock, scourge, and crucify.

 

He asked James and John if they were able to do these things; and they say unto him, We are able, which means we can or we are capable.

 

In addition, we note that –

            D.  JESUS ADVISED THEM THAT THEY WILL INDEED EXPERIENCE THINGS HE WOULD EXPERIENCE BUT THAT IT WAS UP TO HIS FATHER IN HEAVEN WHO WOULD SIT ON HIS RIGHT HAND AND ON HIS LEFT HAND – 20:23

 

Matthew 20:23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.

 

And he saith unto them introduces what Jesus said to James and John.

 

Ye is you (plural) and refers to James and John.

 

Shall drink . . . of my cup is will drink My cup.

 

The word translated indeed sets up a contrast between Jesus’ stating that they would drink the cup He drank and be baptized with the baptism with which He was baptized and the fact that their request was not His to give.

 

Indeed is understood in the sense of on the one hand; and but before to sit is understood in the sense of but on the other hand.

 

And be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with is and you will be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with.

 

I refers to Jesus and is emphatic.

 

The tense and mood of both ye shall drink and of be baptized indicate that they are both predicting something which will definitely happen in the future.

 

Although the wrath of God will be poured out upon Jesus in His crucifixion in a way which James and John would never experience, they will indeed suffer.

 

James was beheaded in Acts 12:1-2 ,

 

Acts 12:1-2 – (1) Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. (2) And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.

 

John would be persecuted and eventually exiled to the island called Patmos because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation of Jesus Christ 1:9 ).

 

Jesus continues, But to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give. Jesus would not give this assurance to James and John.

 

But introduces a statement in mild contrast to what Jesus told James and John in the first half of this verse. It is understood in the sense of but on the other hand.

 

To sit on my right hand, and on my left means to sit on the two seats nearest to me in the coming kingdom. It is the request which Salome made to Jesus at the urging of James and John.

 

Is not mine to give indicates that it is not up to Jesus who will occupy these seats.

 

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to is not mine to give.

 

As indicated by the italics, it shall be given to them has been supplied by the translators. It is implied in the context.

 

For whom it is prepared of my Father is for whom it has been prepared by My Father, and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

 

Moreover, we note that –

            E.  WHEN THE REST OF THE DISCIPLES HEARD WHAT JAMES AND JOHN HAD ASKED, THEY WERE VERY UNHAPPY WITH THEM – 20:24

 

Matthew 20:24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.

 

And when the ten heard it may instead be understood in the sense of because they heard (it), i.e. the request that James and John made through their mother to be seated on Jesus’ right hand and left hand in His kingdom.

 

The ten refers to the ten disciples other than James and John.

 

They (i.e. the ten disciples) were moved with indignation is they were indignant or they were angry.

 

Against the two brethren is with the two brothers, i.e. with James and John.

 

 

We furthermore note that –

            F.  ALTHOUGH THE GENTILES MEASURE GREATNESS BY EXERCISING AUTHORITY OVER OTHERS, THE WAY FOR THE DISCIPLES TO ACHIEVE GREATNESS IS TO SERVE THE REST – 2:25-27

 

Matthew 20:25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

 

But Jesus called them unto him may instead be understood in the sense of after Jesus summoned them, i.e. summoned the twelve disciples.

 

As indicated by the italics, unto him has been supplied by the translators in the sense of to Himself.

 

Said introduces what Jesus told the twelve disciples.

 

Ye know is you twelve disciples know.

 

What they know is introduced by that.

 

The princes of the Gentiles is the rulers of the nations and refers to the political leaders of Gentile nations.

 

Exercise dominion over them is are lording it over them, i.e. over the nations where they are princes.

 

And they that are great exercise authority upon them is and the great ones (i.e. the high officials) are exercising authority over them (i.e. over the princes).

 

Matthew 20:26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister.

 

But it shall not be so among you implies it will not be like this among you.

 

Another but introduces a statement in contrast to it shall not be so among you.

 

However, this time the contrast is a strong one.

 

Whosoever will be great among you is whoever wishes (i.e. wants or desires) to be great among you introduces the pathway toward greatness for the disciples.

 

It is equivalent to the condition if anyone wishes to be great among you.

 

The path toward greatness is let him be your minister, i.e. let him be your servant.

 

Let him be is a third person imperative in Greek for which English has no equivalent. It means he must be.

 

Matthew 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.

 

And whosoever will be chief among you is whoever wishes (i.e. wants or desires) to be first (i.e. foremost, most important, or most prominent) among you.

 

It is equivalent to the condition, If anyone wishes to be first among you.

 

The pathway to being the most important person among the twelve apostles is let him be your servant, i.e. let him be your slave (or subject) or he must be your slave (or subject).

 

The term used for servant implies someone doing humble service to someone to whom he is totally committed.

 

Let him be is another third person imperative for which English has no equivalent. It is understood in the sense, He must be.

 

The pathway to being most important is by doing humble service for the others.

 

Finally, we note that –

            G. JESUS WAS PROVIDING THE GREATEST EXAMPLE OF SERVING BY GIVING HIS LIFE AS A RANSOM FOR MANY – 2:28

 

Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

 

Even as is as or just as and connects the similarity between what was stated in verse 27 and what is about to be stated in this verse.

 

The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, which refers to Jesus, is the Son of man did not come to be served but to serve.

 

And connects the ultimate service Jesus rendered.

 

It is to give his life a ransom for many, i.e. to give His (earthly) life a ransom in exchange for many.

 

A ransom is a price of release.

 

For many indicates that as a result of Jesus dying for sin, He paid the price of release from sin and from its consequences for many persons.

 

His ultimate sacrifice was the ultimate service for humanity.

Next, we see –

 III.     JESUS’ RESTORING SIGHT TO TWO BLIND MEN – 20:29-34

 

We note that –

            A.  AS JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES WERE LEAVING JERICHO, A LARGE CROWD FOLLOWED HIM – 20:29

 

Matthew 20:29 And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him.

 

It suggests while they were departing from Jericho.

 

A great multitude followed him is a large crowd followed Him, i.e. followed Jesus.

 

We also note that –

            B.  WHEN TWO BLIND MEN HEARD THAT JESUS WAS PASSING BY, THEY CRIED OUT FOR MERCY FROM HIM – 20:30

 

Matthew 20:30 And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.

 

And, behold is and look or and you see and is used to gain the reader’s attention.

 

Two blind men sitting by the way side is two blind (persons) sitting beside the road.

 

When they heard, where they refers to the two blind men, may instead be understood in the sense of after they heard or because they heard.

 

What the blind men heard is that Jesus passed by, i.e. that Jesus is passing by and suggests that Jesus is passing by where the blind men are sitting.

 

Cried out is called or called out (in loud voices).

 

Saying introduces what the two blind men called out.

 

Have mercy on us is have pity (or compassion) on us with the implication of enable us to see.

 

They addressed Jesus as O Lord, thou Son of David which indicates that they recognized Him as the Messiah.

 

 

Next, we note that –

            C.  ALTHOUGH THE CROWD TRIED TO QUIET THE BLIND MEN, THEY CRIED OUT EVEN MORE – 20:31

 

Matthew 20:31 And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.

 

And the multitude is and the crowd and speaks of a relatively large group of people.

 

Rebuked them indicates that the crowd strongly disapproved of the blind men calling out to Jesus in the sense of reproved them, warned them, or told them sternly.

 

Because they should hold their peace expresses purpose or intended result in the sense of in order that (or so that) they should be quiet (or stop speaking).

 

But introduces the blind men’s reaction to the crowd’s efforts to silence them.

 

They cried the more is they were crying (or shouting) more (or all the more) and suggests or they kept (or continued) shouting all the more.

 

Saying introduces what they were shouting.

 

They continued repeating exactly what they had said in verse 30, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.

 

In addition, we note that –

            D.  JESUS STOPPED AND ASKED THE BLIND MEN WHAT THEY WANTED HIM TO DO FOR THEM – 20:32

 

Matthew 20:32 And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?

 

And Jesus stood still means and Jesus stopped.

 

And called them is and called them (i.e. and called the two blind men) to Himself or and summoned them.

 

Since and said is followed by a question, it suggests and asked.

 

What Jesus asked is, What will ye that I shall do unto you? It is, What are you wanting (i.e. wishing or desiring) that I shall do for you? and is understood in the sense, What do you want me to do for you?

We note that –

E.  THE BLIND MEN WANTED JESUS TO HEAL THEIR BLINDNESS AND GIVE THEM SIGHT – 20:33

 

Matthew 20:33 They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened.

 

Who can blame them? They say unto him means that the two blind men are repeatedly saying to Jesus.

 

We want, we wish, or we desire is understood from the context.

 

What they want is that our eyes may be opened. They wanted to be able to see.

 

Finally, we note that –

            F.  JESUS SHOWED COMPASSION ON THE TWO BLIND MEN BY TOUCHING THEIR EYES AND ENABLING THEM TO SEE, AND THEY BECAME HIS DISCIPLES – 20:34

 

Matthew 20:34 So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.

 

So Jesus had compassion on them may instead be understood in the sense because Jesus had compassion (on them) (i.e. felt sympathy {for them} or had pity {on them}).

 

Touched their eyes indicates that Jesus with His fingers made contact with the blind men’s eyes.

 

He could have healed their eyes without touching them, but by His touching them it was clearly demonstrated, not only to the blind men, but also to the crowd, that He had personally healed their eyes.

 

And immediately indicates that their sight was restored instantly, at once, without any delay.

 

Their eyes received sight suggests their eyes gained sight (for the first time) or their eyes regained sight (they formerly had).

 

The Greek word is capable of either meaning, but it is not known if these two blind men had been able to see earlier in their lives or had been blind since birth.

 

And they followed him indicates that they became Jesus’ disciples and followed Him.

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