What Jesus Did! 'You Don't Understand' — Matthew 20:22-23

Friday, September 22, 2017

So Jesus said to the sons, "You don't understand what you are asking. Can you accept the kind of suffering that I must have?" The sons answered, "Yes, we can!" Jesus said to them, "Truly you will suffer the same things that I will suffer. But I cannot choose the person that will sit at my right side or my left side. My Father has decided who will have those places. He has prepared those places for those people. Those places belong to them."
— Matthew 20:22-23
Illustration of Matthew 20:22-23 — "You don't understand what you are asking. Can you accept the kind of suffering that I must have?"

Key Thought

Jesus saw through the mother's inquiry into the ambition of her two sons. When confronted, very much like Peter's braggadocio in later episodes, they are full of confidence in themselves. They think they deserve this opportunity and reward. They think they can handle whatever comes.
Very much like little children who want more information than they can process and more experience than they can handle, these two are like younger siblings wondering why they can't have the same privileges as their much older brother or sister. While there may be a very good explanation for their mother's question, the answer is beyond their grasp to understand. The two sons had no clue what they were signing up to do, but some day later, they would.

Today's Prayer

Loving Father, forgive me when I have overestimated my strength. I don't want to assume too much, whether it comes from arrogance or ignorance. I long to be used by you for your glory, but I don't want to become puffed up over accomplishments for which you alone deserve the credit, glory, and praise. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

Jesus was going to Jerusalem. His twelve followers were with him. While they were walking, Jesus gathered the followers together and spoke to them privately. Jesus said to them, "We are going to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be given to the leading priests and the teachers of the law. The priests and teachers of the law will say that the Son of Man must die. They will give the Son of Man to the non-Jewish people. Those people will laugh at him and beat him with whips, and then they will kill him on a cross. But on the third day after his death, he will be raised to life again." Then Zebedee's wife came to Jesus. Her sons were with her. The mother bowed before Jesus and asked him to do something for her. Jesus said, "What do you want?" She said, "Promise that one of my sons will sit at your right side in your kingdom. And promise that the other son will sit at your left side in your kingdom." So Jesus said to the sons, "You don't understand what you are asking. Can you accept the kind of suffering that I must have ?" The sons answered, "Yes, we can!" Jesus said to them, "Truly you will suffer the same things that I will suffer. But I cannot choose the person that will sit at my right side or my left side. My Father has decided who will have those places. He has prepared those places for those people. Those places belong to them." The other ten followers heard this. They became angry with the two brothers. Jesus called all the followers together. Jesus said, "You know that the rulers of the non-Jewish people love to show their power over the people. And their important leaders love to use all their authority over the people. But it should not be that way with you. If one of you wants to become great, then he must serve you like a servant. If one of you wants to become first, then he must serve you like a slave. It is the same with the Son of Man. The Son of Man did not come for other people to serve him. The Son of Man came to serve other people. The Son of Man cameto give his life to save many people." When Jesus and his followers were leaving Jericho, many, many people followed Jesus. There were two blind men sitting by the road. The blind men heard that Jesus was coming by. So the blind men shouted, "Lord, Son of David, please help us!" All the people criticized the blind men. They told the blind men not to speak. But the blind men shouted more and more, "Lord, Son of David, please help us!" Jesus stopped and said to the blind men, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind men answered, "Lord, we want to be able to see." Jesus felt sorry for the blind men. Jesus touched their eyes and they were able to see. Then the men followed Jesus.

Matthew 20:17-34

Related Scripture Readings

During that same time King Herod began to persecute some of the people that belonged to the church (group of believers). Herod ordered James to be killed with a sword. James was the brother of John. Herod saw that the Jews liked this. So he decided to arrest Peter, too. (This happened during the time of the Jewish holiday called the Passover. )

Acts 12:1-3

This is the revelation of Jesus Christ. God gave Jesus these things to show his servants what must happen soon. Christ sent his angel to show these things to his servant John. John has told everything that he saw. It is the truth that Jesus Christ told him; it is the message from God. The person that reads the words of this message from God is blessed (happy). And the people who hear this message and do the things that are written in it are blessed. There is not much time left. From John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia : Grace (kindness) and peace to you from the One (God) who is, who {always} was, and who is coming; and from the seven spirits before his throne; I am John, and I am your brother {in Christ}. We are together in Jesus, and we share these things: suffering, the kingdom, and patient endurance. I was on the island of Patmos because I was faithful to God's message and to the truth of Jesus. On the Lord's day the Spirit took control of me. I heard a loud voice behind me. It sounded like a trumpet.

Revelation 1:1-4, 9-10

Dear brothers and sisters, when I came to you, I told you the truth of God. But I did not use fancy words or great wisdom. I decided that while I was with you I would forget about everything except Jesus Christ and his death on the cross. When I came to you, I was weak and shook with fear. My teaching and my speaking were not with wise words that persuade people. But the proof of my teaching was the power that the Spirit gives. I did this so that your faith would be in God's power, not in the wisdom of a man.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.