Matthew 20:29-34 Jesus Heals Two Blind Men

Lord have mercy on me!

Lord have mercy on me!

Jesus and His disciples are still making their way towards Jerusalem. This will be Jesus’ last visit there, this side of the grave. They have just passed through and are leaving Jericho. Matthew reports that there is a great crowd following Him.

Because of Mark’s account of this story we know one of the blind men was named Bartimaeus. We don’t have a name for the other, so we will call him Cleophus. These two men have been sitting by the roadside together for many years. They have become friends during their struggles. It is not easy making a living by begging, but it is the only thing they can do since losing their sight. On especially lean days, they have been seen sharing what they collect to ensure both eat. Read more »

Matthew 20:20-28 The Seating Order Request

A heart like His

A heart like His

Jesus and His disciples are on their way to Jerusalem for the last time. They stepped off to the side for a private talk just a little bit ago.

James and John’s mother has a request to make of Jesus while they are outside the flow of travelers. I wonder if she was traveling with Jesus and His group or if she met up with them along the way. We know that James and John left their father behind in the fishing boat when they first started following Jesus. I would assume that their mother would be home with him, instead of traveling around with Jesus.

What or who put this idea into her mind to start with? Did she come up with it on her own? How did James and John feel about their mother making this request of Jesus? Did they ask her to approach Jesus with this request because they didn’t want to look too pushy? Was mom driven to see her boys succeed? Why did she think her son’s should have a higher place than the rest of the disciples? Apparently she believed Jesus was going to set up His kingdom right away, like the disciples did. Read more »

Matthew 20:17-19 Jesus Tells of His Death the Third Time

Three times He said it and it still didn't sink in

Three times He said it and it still didn’t sink in

Jesus and His disciples are on their way to Jerusalem for the last time. Jesus’ time with them on this side of the grave is nearing its end. He tells them one more time what is about to happen.

Passover celebration is at hand so there are many travelers on the roads heading to Jerusalem. Jesus and His disciples are among the travelers. The roads are packed with people. Jesus wants to warn His disciples once again what is going to happen, so He draws them out of the crowd to a secluded spot along the way. Jesus pulls no punches in His description this time. He tells the disciples explicitly what is going to happen. He doesn’t go into graphic details, but He leaves no room for doubt as to the upcoming events. Read more »

Matthew 19:30- 20:16 The First Last and the Last First

One day's wage

One day’s wage

Jesus is continuing His private lesson with His disciples about their reward in Heaven. He has just met with the rich young man and planted the seed to rework his priorities. Then Peter asks what the disciples reward will be for having left all that they knew to follow Jesus. Now Jesus is going to address the topic of all who labor receiving the same reward.

Jesus uses a parable here to illustrate His point. Our story is about the master of a house who goes out to hire laborers for his vineyard. First off I find it interesting that the master of the house himself went out in search of laborers and not his foreman. Also the master of the house kept going back for more laborers. Did he not find enough help the earlier times he went out? Maybe he just wanted to make sure everyone who wanted to work had the opportunity to do so. Was there enough work for all the new hires? I’m thinking that this hiring up to the last minute and paying full wages to all would only work once. The lazy would want to wait until the eleventh hour group to get on board. Read more »

Matthew 19:27-29 The Disciples’ Reward

The Disciples reward is nothing compared to God's presence

The Disciples reward is nothing compared to God’s presence

Jesus and His disciples had just encountered the rich young man. He went away sorrowful because of Jesus’ requirement that God be first in his life. Now it is just Jesus and His disciples together in whatever location this is.

Jesus has just told His disciples how difficult it is for the rich to enter Heaven. The disciples want to know who can enter Heaven then. No one, apart from Jesus. With man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Peter asks about the disciples’ commitment. They have given up everything to follow Jesus. Will they have a place in God’s Kingdom? Will God reward them for their sacrifice? Read more »