Matthew 20:20-28 | Subversive Greatness

Subversive Kingdom

We have seen that as soon as Peter confesses that Jesus is the Messiah the book of Matthew shifts its focus from the person of Christ to the work of Christ. Now that we know who he is — what did he come to do? In the passage before us we have Jesus’ third attempt to teach his disciples the meaning of his death. This time, Jesus gives us more details about his death than previously; for the first time, we are told not just that he will die but why he will do so. Here he begins to explain the meaning and purpose of his death, which have massive implications for how we understand greatness and service .

Questions for Reflection

  • How does the question and the request of James and John (and their mother) show that they still don’t understand the meaning of the cross, of “glory” and of “greatness”?

  • Read Isaiah 53:2-12. If, as is likely, Jesus had this prophecy in mind, what else did he believe about his impending death?

  • What is Jesus saying about us when he says he dies to ransom us? (Follow-up question: in what ways are we “in bondage”?)