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Matthew 20:20-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Selfish Request Rejected

Matthew 20:20-23 – A Selfish Request Rejected

|| Mark 10:35-40

MT20:20 Later[1] the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and bowed[2] wishing to ask a favor from him. MT20:21 Jesus asked her, “What do you wish?” She answered him, “Promise[3] that my two sons may be enthroned with you[4] in your kingdom – one on your left and one on your right.” MT20:22 But Jesus answered her, “You do not realize[5] what you are asking! Are you able to drink the cup I am about to drink?”[6] The [two disciples] said, “We are able!” MT20:23 Jesus told them, “You will really drink my Cup. However, this sitting on my right and left is not my decision to make.[7] Rather it belongs to those my Father has prepared.”[8]

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[1] Later: Some time has elapsed from the mountain retreat.

[2] Bowed: The Greek is PROSKUNOUSA. Or, KJV: worshipping him; KNX: falling on her knees; TCNT: bowing to the ground. Research the word worship.

[3] Promise: Or, KJV: grant; ASV: command; PME: please say.

[4] Enthroned with you: Literally, “sit.” Compare Revelation 3:21. See notes on Matthew 19:28.

[5] You do not realize: It is likely this is directed at the two disciples, James and John, also called the “sons of thunder.” The parallel accounts have them making the request (likely through their mother). Or, NEB: you do not understand; MON: none of you know what you are asking.

[6] To drink the cup I am about to drink: The KJV adds: baptized with the baptism. The “cup” is something to drink, share, or partake of. Compare notes on Matthew 26:39 (Mark 14:36; John 18:11). Paul says something similar at Romans 6:3-5. The disciples are destined to share a fate and life course similar to their Lord.

[7] Not my decision to make: Literally, KJV: not mine to give. It seems evident that there are certain matters that are the prerogative of the Father. Compare Acts 1:7. The Son has limited authority and knowledge while the Father’s is absolute.

[8] It belongs to those my Father has prepared: Or, KJV: it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared; KNX: it is for those for whom my Father has destined it; NEB: it is for those to whim it has already been assigned. The conclusions drawn from this are many. Some see predestination here. Others hold different views. It is interesting that the Nazarene just doesn’t say there are no such privileged positions in heaven. The whole subject still relates back to the appointment of Peter in Matthew 16:18 and the ongoing argument over who is the greatest among them. We ourselves are embarrassed that two of the apostles would get their mother to ask the Lord for this privilege. How the others felt we will now see.

The Greek word translated “prepared” is HETOIMASTAI. “Strong’s #2090 HETOIMAZO {het-oy-mad’-zo} from 2092; TDNT – 2:704, 266; AV – prepare 29, make ready 10, provide 1; 40. 1) to make ready, prepare; 1a) to make the necessary preparations, get everything ready; 2) metaph. 2a) drawn from the oriental custom of sending on before kings on their journeys persons to level the roads and make them passable; 2b) to prepare the minds of men to give the Messiah a fit reception and secure his blessings.” The main idea may be no more than that God has purposed something according to His will and thus has made all the preparations necessary to accomplish this.

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Preceding

Matthew 20:1-7 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Vineyard Workers

Matthew 20:8-16 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Last, First; First, Last

Matthew 20:17-19 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Onward to Jerusalem!

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:18-22 – The Calling of the First Disciples

Matthew 4:18-22 – The Calling of the First Disciples

|| Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11; John 1:35-42

MT4:18 Walking by the Sea of Galilee Jesus saw two brothers, Simon[1] (who is also called Peter[2]) and Andrew[3] his brother. They were fishermen and were casting their fishing-nets into the sea. MT4:19 And Jesus said to them, “Come here and follow me, and I will make you fishers of humans.” MT4:20 And these immediately dropped their nets[4] and they followed Jesus. MT4:21 And leaving there, Jesus saw two other brothers, James[5] the son of Zebedee and John[6] his brother. They were in the fishing boat with their father Zebedee repairing their nets. Jesus called them. MT4:22 At once these left the boat and their father and they followed Jesus.

[1] Simon: The first disciple called or invited. The name means “Listen” and occurs 80 times in the Christian Bible. Others are also called by this name.

English: Simon Peter and Andrew with Christ. M...

Simon Peter and Andrew with Christ. Mortier. In the Bowyer Bible in Bolton Museum, England. Print 3543. From “An Illustrated Commentary on the Gospel of Mark” by Phillip Medhurst. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[2] Peter: The name means “Rock” and occurs 175 times (most often in the Book of Acts) in the Christian Bible. Peter is most often listed first in the list of the apostles.

[3] Andrew: The second called. The name means “Manly” and occurs 13 times in the Christian Bible.

[4] Immediately dropped their nets: It is possible these men were baptized disciples of John the Baptist. It is also possible Jesus had known these men as he had grown up in the area of Galilee. One notes how quickly they were willing to quit their trade and follow the Messiah.

[5] James: The names means “Surplanter” and equals Jacob and occurs 54 times in the Christian Bible. It is possible that James was a cousin or kinsman of Jesus of Nazareth.

[6] John: The name means “Yah Favors; God’s Gift” and occurs 140 times in the Christian Bible.

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Preceding

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:1-4 A Wilderness Temptation

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:5-7 – A Temptation to Test God

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:8-11 – A Temptation to Gain World Rule

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:12-17 – Galilee Saw A Great Light

Jehovah God Maker of the entire universe served by a well-trained army

Next:

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:23-25 – Kingdom Preaching and Healing Draws Crowds

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Additional reading

  1. Counterfeit Gospels
  2. Truth, doubt or blindness
  3. Good Morning January 25 We are theologians
  4. The Pastor Theologian
  5. Perishable non theologians daring to go out to preach
  6. A call easy to understand

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Further reading

  1. Man’s true destiny
  2. God’s Plumb Line
  3. Surrender
  4. Having Faith in God 
  5. Scripture at Sunrise 2.7.2017
  6. God’s Faithful Are Forever Blessed
  7. Only Jesus Will Give You Eternal Life
  8. Choose good over evil – February 01, 2017
  9. What is your goal in publishing Christian Pharisees?
  10. Our God is a Holy God
  11. Two Selves: One Cannot Be Improved, the Other is Perfect in Christ (Part 1)
  12. “Repent and Believe in the Good News”
  13. Repent While You Can
  14. Guilt — Why won’t it go away?
  15. Jesus sends you out for your sake
  16. Living in the Light
  17. Why A Christian Should Not Say “This” To A Non-Christian – Part II
  18. Do You Really Love Jesus?
  19. Stones Into Bread
  20. 3rd Sunday After Epiphany, January 22, 2017
  21. Third Sunday of Epiphany 2017 – Matthew 4:21-22
  22. 40 days
  23. 40 days and 40 nights
  24. Jesus Keeps Walking, God Keeps Moving
  25. Light to the Nations?
  26. Follow
  27. Follow Me
  28. Invited To Follow
  29. Immediate
  30. Repentance – Sermon on Matthew 4:12-23
  31. Jesus calls his first disciples
  32. Answering the Call (Mt 4:12-23)
  33. Called Together
  34. What Does ‘Fish for Men’ Mean?
  35. Are You Really Following?
  36. Faith & Fisherman
  37. Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

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