Monday, July 9, 2012

Matthew Chapter 20

This chapter begins where the last one left off. The parable that begins this chapter (vv.1-16) teaches the same thing that the one before it taught- mercy and generosity. There is something different about this parable though. As I read it, the tone is direct, almost harsh. I wonder if Jesus is becoming more aware of his impending entry into Jerusalem and subsequent Passion. Combine this with the 3rd prediction that he makes about his won Passion (vv. 17-19) and then his exchange with the mother of James and John, and I wonder if Jesus is making one last push to instill in the hearts of his apostles and disciples the true meaning not only of His own Messiah-ship, but also the meaning of what is about to transpire after his arrest in the Garden (chapter 26).

But Jesus is not without a fierce dedication to His own mission. The chapter ends with Him healing two blind men. There’s that beautiful question that Jesus asks the men, one that I imagine Him asking me with some regularity: “What do you want me to do for you”(v. 32)? What a great question that we should all imagine Jesus asking us with some regularity.  Jesus who seeks only to heal and forgive and restore and give, give, give is ready and willing to do just that for us. And yet we carry with us all the things we carry, and I wonder if sometimes we’re unconvinced that the Lord wants to ask us that question. And is yearning, dying really, for our answer.

A word about the title used for Jesus in v. 30: Son of David. Dr. Scott Hahn writes: “The title may reflect an early belief that the Messiah would possess powers of healing and exorcism as did the original son of David, King Solomon” (cf. Wis 7:20).

Point for Prayer
Pray with James and John. Jesus refuses their request. Yet, Jesus is saying something definitive about authority and power.  When you find yourself in a position of authority, of power, how do you perceive that? And how do you use that authority and power? Is it for gain, or for service?

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