Matthew 20:22 – you don’t know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink
Often we don’t know what we are asking the Lord. We’ve all seen or read stories of a genie, “I wish for…” And we all think, “wouldn’t it be great if I had _______________”. But sometimes the literal fulfillment might not be what we thought. There is an important principle, “every change, changes every THING.”
There is an “old school” way of praying that we need to come back to, “Lord if it be your will.” “Lord, I’d like you to move in this way, but bring about your best.” How did Jesus pray, “not my will but yours be done.” There is a slice of Christian Culture that says, “If I just have enough faith.” They believe that somehow it all comes down to man’s faith. But in that scenario we are assuming that 1) We know best 2) we know the by-product. It then is always important that we have faith, 1) in God’s Ability, 2) in God’s knowledge, 3) in God’s wisdom, 4) in God’s goodness, 5) to follow and trust God with the outcome.
So, here Jesus says, “you don’t know what you are asking.” When you back up to v20, Momma Zebedee brings her boys to Jesus and says, “Promise that my boys can sit on your right and left in the Kingdom.”
And Jesus says, “You don’t know what you are asking.”
Kingdom reward DOES have earthly struggles. What she asked is like me saying, “promise me that I can WIN the Marathon I just signed up for, my first.” Yeah, the problem is, there is a price to be paid to prepare. There is an effort necessary to complete that task. I may not have the capacity for that task, even IF I do the work. I know of marathon runners that HAVE the capacity to do the pace needed to win, and yet still get to a place in the race when their bodies quit, and they have passed out from the exhaustion.
Jesus asks, “are you able to drink the cup” – Mark adds, “to be baptized with the baptism which I am baptized” – Can you be immersed with what it takes? And surprisingly, a bit ignorantly, if not arrogantly – James and John answer, “Yes we are” – mighty bold statement. They were ready, at least they thought they were.
Then Jesus makes a surprising statement – “you WILL indeed drink my cup.”
boys, I have good news and bad news. The good news is you WILL drink the cup of suffering, the bad news is the results will be different that you are hoping or thinking.
Following Jesus is about – Following JESUS, not about where we get to sit. Being In the Kingdom is the result of the work of Christ, and our faith filled reception of it, anything extra is, well, extra.
Jesus says, “to sit at my right or left is not mine to give, it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
Wait, so if I obey, and follow Christ, and prepare, and I’m good at what I do… I don’t get a mega church, and big earthly success? Not Necessarily
So, you are saying that God has a plan, a purpose, and my path doesn’t mean the same results as everyone else? Not Necessarily
Jesus had already told them in Matthew 19:28 that they were going to have Twelve Thrones to judge Israel. So they had a huge promised task and reward, the Sons of Zebedee just wanted assurance of greater notoriety, “hey mom, can you help us?”
The Call is to Deny Self and follow him. The certainty then is that the work of Christ has provided all we need for life and godliness, so any additional outcome, besides Heaven and inclusion in the Kingdom is wholly on the purposes and plans of God.
Jesus, divine yet incarnate, subordinated himself to the Father, he relied on the power of the Holy Spirit, so what are WE to do? At the beginning of THIS chapter, Jesus tells the parable of workers who worked, full days, part days, and just a few minutes and they all got what? They all got the same reward. So then, we are quibbling about recognition not even reward, so regardless, let it go.
This makes the other 10 disciples angry, and Jesus has to sit them ALL down in vv25-28. Service isn’t about Sovereignty but about Surrender, Subjugation. Jesus says, “the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them… it must NOT be THAT way among YOU. On the contrary, whoever wants to be great must be a servant… The Son of Man did not come to BE Served, but to Serve, and to give his life.
Giving of my life doesn’t just mean to die. It means to release control and recognition, for the sake of a greater dominion.
Let me add one thing:
Don’t worry if there will be enough reward and recognition for you in Heaven, there WILL be. There will be reward, there will be crowns, there will be blessing, and it will be MORE than we can imagine. But when we get there and when we receive it, our response will be to feel unworthy, and to use whatever we receive as “worship tools”, throwing them at the feet of the One who provided it all
What a day that will be