Tag: position of honor

Can you drink this cup?

Scripture reading for January 28th: Matthew 20, Psalm 18:43-50, Proverbs 5:7-14

Jesus spoke plainly to His disciples about His coming death by crucifixion.  He did not want them to be unprepared for the fiery trial that He would go through and that they would experience themselves.  “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priest and the teachers of the law.  They will condemn Him to death and will turn Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified.  On the third day He will be raised to life!” (Matthew 20:18-19)  Jesus did not head for Jerusalem unaware of what awaited Him.  It was a cup of suffering and a horrible death by crucifixion.

After this revelation to His disciples, the mother of James and John came to Jesus and knelt down to ask a favor of Him.  “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”   “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them.  “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” (Matthew 20:21–22)  What this mother thought was a favor would involve a cup of suffering beyond what anyone could imagine!

The brothers answered in the affirmative!  They could drink the cup, whatever that was.  This was their own human estimate of their strength.  Jesus assured them that they would drink from His cup, but that the places that they desired were not His to grant, but that honor was for those that the Father prepared it for.  (Matthew 20:22-23)  This jostling for position caused jealousy among the disciples; Jesus called them together and warned them not to jostle for position.  The way to become great was not by lording it over one another, but by becoming the greatest servant.  He, Himself, had set them the example and they should follow Him!

As we ponder this passage, Jesus’ question, “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” stands out to me.  I am thankful that He drank the cup of God’s wrath for my sin!  I don’t have to drink that cup!  But I am called to be His servant and that will involve suffering and carrying a cross!  I must die to myself and live fully for Him.  Will I drink from that cup?

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