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 »

Matthew 19:16-26 Rich Man Poor Man

The eye of the needle

The eye of the needle

Jesus has left the area in Judea beyond the Jordan. We are not told where He and His disciples are. There doesn’t appear to be a great crowd with them either. I’m wondering if this encounter happened on the road between two destinations.

First off, Matthew doesn’t tell us the man is rich until he is leaving Jesus’ company. Is that because the man didn’t appear rich when he met up with Jesus? Did he dress down to meet Jesus? Did he hide his wealth any time he went out in public? Or did he come with all the trappings and Matthew simply didn’t mention them?

As a rich man, did he come with a haughty attitude of being able to buy his way into Heaven? Was he earnestly seeking? He apparently thought he had done all the right things so far. He was looking for that one last “good deed” that he needed to accomplish in order to secure his future. This to me says that he knew in his heart something was lacking. No matter how hard he tried so far, he knew it was not enough. Read more »

Matthew 19:13-15 Welcome Little One

Jesus, please speak blessings over my children

Jesus, please speak blessings over my children

Jesus has been in the region of Judea just across the Jordan. While there He has been healing, teaching, and encountered the Pharisees. Today He is asked to bless the children.

Everyone has been coming to Jesus for healing since the beginning of His ministry, but this is the first time we see someone coming simply to receive a blessing from Him. Jewish tradition has a special blessing for children, which is to be given every Friday night. It is called the Shabbos bracha. I wonder if this was what the parents were asking for from Jesus. You can check out the traditional blessing for boys and girls at 

Jesus has been dealing with the crowd and the Pharisees for a long time today. He is probably tired and in need of rest. But one last group wants an audience with Him. This is a group of parents and children. I’m imagining there were quite a few of them in this group. Read more »