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April 9, 2021 8:00 am
The scene is on the road to Jerusalem, the mood is solemn and the dialogue is nothing short of perplexing Jesus is on his way to die. And his disciples are busy wondering who will get the best seat in heaven on this broadcast of the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce will continue his current series and Matthew with a message that will challenge us to rethink our definition of greatness and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically today will discover what Dr. Boyce believes is one of the most important verses in the Bible will find out why Jesus said that being last is actually best. Let's listen in together to today's message or studying Matthew's gospel in the way hope, midway through the 20th chapter and time is running out seven chapters 716 of my studies ever since the parables of the kingdom in chapter 13, which seen that Jesus has been withdrawing from the leaders of the people and later even from the masses in order to spend time alone with his disciples to teach family needed to teach them what his kingdom was like and what they needed to be like they were going to be part of his kingdom now this stage XXth chapter of this withdrawal.
His ending Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem to die by crucifixion exchange is indicated for the first time in verse 17 now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem by the start of the next chapter. Chapter 20 we find it is already there because chapter 21 begins.
As they approach Jerusalem and came to Bethpage at the Mount of olives. Sadly, although Jesus would explain what this was all about the disciples didn't understand it needed to go on teaching, which is what we find, we find three things in this final section of chapter 20 we find a further prediction of his suffering and resurrection, we find further evidence of the disciples struggling to see who can be first in the kingdom.
And then we have a very short little vignette which tells about the healing of two blind men on the show that all that goes together now versus 17 to 19 are this third prediction of his death, and there are at least two reasons why it's repeated the obvious reason Jesus is repeated and it was there once in Matthew 1621, given in chapter 1722 and 23. The obvious reason he has repeated it as the disciples haven't gotten it yet, but he understood that he was going to die is why we read that they were filled with grief.
Chapter 17 verse 23, but I didn't really understand much about it. They certainly didn't know why he was going to die and they hadn't even begun to dream about the reality of the resurrection.
So he teaches them again and again and like a good teacher he adds to his teaching each time as we take these three and compare them. Even though their brief, undoubtedly telescoped into short language here for the sake of the Gospels, but in reality he taught at much greater length likely begin to suspect as it is expanding this teaching as he goes along. Chapter 16 he spoke of his suffering at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law that he must be killed on the third day be raised to life. We get to chapter 17. That's a fact of his betrayal had mentioned that before. Now, here in chapter 20, he reveals that the leaders of the people will turn them over to the Gentiles and Gentiles will mock and flog him and he also adds that his death would be, by crucifixion, which of course is something the Gentiles did, but not the Jews. Now that's the very heart and substance of what Jesus would come to do so is both natural and necessary that he would be explaining that it length unfolding in order that the disciples might actually come to understand which of course they were not doing very well.
There's a second reason why this teaching about his suffering and death is repeated and that is that it is a pattern for how the disciples themselves are to live. They did learn that some leg work apart from learning it because as a matter of fact they were doing exactly the opposite. They were struggling to see who would be first clear every time Jesus mentions his death and resurrection back to chapter 16, there is where you have that great confession of the apostle Peter, Jesus said to you say that I am in Peter said you're the Christ the son of the living God. Once he got that straight understanding who Jesus was and Jesus began to teach what it come to do on to say that he was going to die be raised again and then let's not stand alone. They went on immediately after that to say that that pattern of self-sacrifice was to characterize the lives of all that would come to him because that's where he says if anyone would come after me, that it would be my disciple, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
So from the very beginning. He tells what he's come to do, and then he explains that this is the pattern for his disciples as well. One day, that would be glory, but not now calling right now is to follow him and follow him is to take up the cross island disciples did not understand that they wanted to be great I thought Jesus was bringing in the kingdom.
All they could do is think in terms of political power. Just like many evangelical student I they think of goblet really blesses them. America would be a great Christian nation.
But Jesus wasn't talking about that sort of thing. He was talking about suffering, so when the disciples began to struggle among themselves to see who would be great. Jesus time out to explain to them that that is not the way it's to be in his kingdom when he says, is this whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Now that's showing why all of these things are repeated and why the disciples and we ourselves need to hear them and learn about teaching our lesson it is to learn to be served but to serve, I think of Brother Lawrence. It was a Carmelite monk who was converted in the 17th century. His name when he was born as Nicholas Harmening was born in Lorraine and Francis urban the French army for time but he was converted. One day as he was looking on a tree in winter. It was stripped of its leaves that came to land that God it was a God of grace and power would, in the springtime because that tree to grow leaves again was directed to God as a result of vanity entered monastery becoming a monk in 1666 now, he was sent to a monastery where he was given the task of working in the kitchen put in charge of the utensils verse. He hated the work as many of us might as well but he said himself he says so to walk in God's presence that he could worship God and serve others, even in these humble circumstances, and in time. He said he came to worship God more in the kitchen than in the Cathedral and he wrote these words of prayer Lord of all pots and pans and things like the saints by getting meals, washing up the dishes. That is not a text for women. They do it anyway. It's a text for men do it at Christmas time and help out his meditations on the Christian life are preserved in a little devotional classic called the practice of the presence of God in what it really shows as a brother Lawrence achieved greatness by choosing humility is what Jesus talking about. We don't know very much about serving God by serving others, achieving greatness by being humble and in the eyes of the world not right at all. And yet it is essential to discipleship. Humility reminds us that we must die to ourselves in order that we might live for Christ and help others. I'm looking hard.
This was for the disciples at the start of chapter 18 the disciples were arguing about who should be greatest in Christ's kingdom was Bourassa kingdom manpower and pomp and prestige and all of those things. They assume that they were going to set up on throne when Jesus drove out the Romans and rule land and had to be taught there was something entirely different. Jesus did it. On that occasion by bringing a little child forward, setting the child in their midst and then use the child as an illustration. He said look I tell you this, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. They were asking who should be greatest. He said you have to become a child, just to be great, but even to get in it is what a change or is there that's the kind of change can only be accomplished supernaturally in us by the Holy Spirit what you think I would at least got the point.
Of course they were changed. So what we find in the next chapter is that the disciples actually turned children aside mothers bringing the children), the Messiah, they would probably have said that mothers don't bother Jesus.
Now he's too busy while they really meant was we're too busy and we are two important to care about the children.
So Jesus began to instruct them again.
He said not let the little children come to me and don't hinder them because the kingdom of God belongs to such as Lee and then there's 1/3 incident so when we come to analysis all part of a series here, but were told here is that the mother of James and John came to Jesus asking if her sons could set one on his right hand and one on his left hand when he ushered in his kingdom. We read on of the story we find that the other disciples heard about it. They were angry which only means they were upset with James and John because they thought these two disciples were getting the jump on I wanted to have those places themselves. They are all striving to the same kind of thing which is a Jesus knows how hard it is to learn that.
So once again he takes them aside and he begins to instruct him. He gets these two brothers, and he says to them, what are you able to drink the cup that I'm able to drink. That's an image they would've understood it instantly referred to was suffering he was saying the greatness in his kingdom has to do with suffering or say are you able to do that were so na´ve they thought they were, you know, anything you suck.
We can do it.
Yes, by all means we can break your cop rather sobering words he said well yes you will indeed because God was calling them to be his disciples and he would suffer my calling James would become one of the first Christian martyrs, John even though he lived a long long time and spend the last years of his life in prison in exile on Patmos said Jesus to sit on my right hand and on my left is not for me to give it's something that's been determined by the father and he got the whole group together because he knew it wasn't just James and John and their mother that were doing this is what was going on here he is, he's he's on the way to Jerusalem to die. And here they are squabbling over who should be greatest again. He says, look, you know, the rulers of the Gentiles is all of the political figures of the world. America swallows that day lorded over them and their high officials exercise authority over them, but not so with you instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. You would think by now they would get it but sadly, even this wasn't the end of the matter because the conflict apparently continued and intensified even into the upper room returned to Luke's gospel. We find that even after the institution of the Lord's supper quote a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered the greatest at this point. Luke includes the same words we find in Matthew about the Gentiles lording over them, and so forth. I think it must've been at that point that our Lord according to John's Gospel took off his clothes, guarded himself with the tile picked up a basin and went about washing the disciples feet. You see he was trying to get it through their thick heads wonder if he gets it through our thick heads. We are to learn anything from the disciples we can learn.
Is this because were like them that we can be struggling to be great even when we come to the communion service because at what it is to be center and we are far from thinking about things as Jesus does. I want to go on the very last incident in the concluding portion of the chapter. This thing that has to do with the two blind men.
But before I do that I really have to call special attention to the verse that is there is verse 28 and is undoubtedly one of the most striking and important verses in all the gospel just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many reason I call attention to it is because of that word ransom is the only current select precise word or form of the board in the whole New Testament not understand. You have to know that it's a number of related words that are used to describe Christ's work of redemption number different words are used for redemption. Most common is eye garage so it means to buy in the marketplace because the marketplace was the agora and Greek language or the buyout of the marketplace X on the rods of those two words are often translated as redemption, but that's not the word we have here.
This is a different word group entirely basic word is the word luau very simple Greek word and it means to loose most weight sounds would refer to example for loosening your Pogo in order to take it off and laid aside or if you're wearing armor in battle unbuckled the armor and Leah decided short of two loose because it sometimes used metaphorically. It would be used for unbinding a prisoner resetting a prisoner for a or freeing the slaves and so on. Now, in time, a second were developed from because often when you were freeing a prisoner or if you were redeeming a slave you had to pay a price ransom price in the case of prisoner or a redemption price and the case of slave and so the word that developed was the word used to describe that ransom a redemption price. It was the word neutron is amount you paid.
The neutron was price to set one free and then from that or another verb developed similar to the first with a special meeting, the first bird was little old and you have neutron with an argument.
Now that was neutron all also meant to set free, but because it was based upon the man always meant to be set free by the paying of the price from that word. We actually have the New Testament words the redemption process word which involves another addition to it: process which of course is the most common word of the Lord that occurs here is his word neutron the redemption price I would go back further, we find ideas like that in the Old Testament, and because Jesus was not speaking Greek but Aramaic certainly it was this kind of word and association that was in the disciples minds. One of the words is Cofer. It also means ransom price but it's richer than that word neutron because Cofer is the price that's paid not merely to set someone three, but the price that's paid to set them free. Apart from which they would die. Let me explain what that means Posa person owns aux and the Sox got out of its pendant went down road and board somebody so that the person that was Gordon died was a serious offense if there was negligence on the part of the owner. The owner could die is like being taken to the other.
It was just a simple accident that would be something like we call manslaughter that would be a fine if that's aux was known to be dangerous if the pen had been left open for negligence and so forth. The owners life would be forfeit for the life that was taken but that wasn't the any advantage lacked anybody and so this habit developed on law that concern the law. Cofer words the owner if he could work out an agreement with the family that had lost the other one could redeem his life by paying the price. That's what the Cofer was all about. So that was the Old Testament background for the idea redemption by the payment of the price but the redemption of the one who, apart from the redemption would surely die is one other Old Testament work that forms the background of this Mrs. word got ale it means to redeem and the related noun is go whale which means a kinsman redeemer requires a little!
Two in Jewish law was a principle that property should stay in the family is much as possible. Someone might lose their property because of depth, a mortgage that they were unable to pay off the mortgage passes into the hands of somebody else, but I was considered a bad thing because the family would lose their share in the inheritance so that was an obligation in the past upon our relative relative that was closest to the one who had lost the property to buy it back. Redeem and, if at all possible in order to do that he had to satisfy three conditions. First of all he had to be a close relative stranger wouldn't go secondly had to be able to do it at M of money actually redeem the properly and 30 had to be willing words was voluntary didn't have to do it but a heavy obligation to do it but he didn't have to do it while all of those things are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Why this is the background of the particular word and first we have here, but the great Old Testament illustration is the illustration of Boaz and Ruth was a woman in Israel and the days of the judges before the coming of King David and those who immediately preceded him, whose name was Naomi. She was married to a man named a limo like Anna famine came to the area in which she lived and so Abimelech took Naomi and the two sons.
They had down to Moab where there was more fluidly settled there sons eventually married Moabite girls first was off. The second was Ruth and then a limo like died. Eventually the sons died to. So here is stalemate with the two daughters in law there very very poor having a hard time getting by but Naomi here is that back in Bethlehem her home time I actually had good harvests and so she decides it is time to go back there, so she's ready to go. She tells a daughter-in-law this to stay with their people. Or if it doesn't, but Ruth won't and you have the great exchange of some of the most beautiful verses in the Bible tells her mother-in-law don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you where you go I will go where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God, where you die I will die there. I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely of anything but death separates you and me very lovely passage back in Bethlehem only and Ruth were quite poor, in spite of the fact that only seems to abound a piece of land only way they could survive was by Ruth going into the fields behind the reapers and gathering up what they left behind was called gleaning was something that was about only commonly done but encouraged as a way of helping the poor when somebody you are, the field was harvested. He was supposed to leave some of the grading behind not scraping there were a lot of poor people who needed that sort of thing.
And that's what Ruth was doing. She went to glean in the field of a man who it turned out, was a close relative of Naomi's name was Bo answer was a rich man. Boaz was kind to Ruth in spite of the fact that she was a foreigner instructed the workmen leave things behind for and so she was prospering. That way she brought it all back to her mother-in-law. What happens is that this love story begins to develop. Yes the question did Boaz fall in love with Ruth doesn't say that that's not the kind of language they used in stories like this in Old Testament times, but presumably that's what happened and Ruth undoubtedly was in love with him as well and by only the mother-in-law understands what's happening. She sort of encourages the thing that might move along and finally matter is made clearer and Boaz is asked to perform the work of the kinsman redeemer is a close kinsman, the Naomi what is asked to do is buy back the land that is been lost to them also marry Ruth the Moabitess so he can raise up an heir to carry on that branch of the Jewish family tree. There's a hitch as a relativist closer Boaz so you have this dramatic meeting. They meet their the gate of the city relative is asked whether he'll redeem the land and fulfill the role of the kinsman redeemer is glad to pay for the land but is not free to marry Ruth so he can do it.
Boaz says well I'll do it. And so the story comes this happy conclusion I got married. I have a son sons name is all that he becomes a father of Jesse.
Jesse becomes the father of King David illustrates and was intended to illustrate what Jesus was going to do and now has done for our salvation. He became our kinsman by the incarnation but merely very God of very God as we sign this morning, but also man suffering all the things in enduring all the experiences that we endure.
Secondly, he was willing to be our Redeemer because of his love for us and then finally was able to redeem us because he alone was able to play redemption price we sing it in one of our hymns. We sing was no other good enough to pay the price of sin. He only could unlock the door of heaven let us in very simple poetry but profoundly true.
He paid the price, which was the price of his blood signified his life. Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for Mary now asked this question. Do you understand that and do you understand how it applies to your life if you pretend to be his follower, you see, it uses words particularly, do you see it because of the way the chapter ends suggest this is why this incident of the opening of the eyes and two blind men comes in Jesus met them on the way to Jerusalem, near Jericho and their illustrations of the disciples and their spiritually blind condition or to put it another way, they represent ourselves spiritually blind. We don't see spiritual matters and we should also poor beggars who have no hope of advancing ourselves and will have no claim on Jesus and the crowd doesn't help problems blind as well.
Crowd says shut up, stand beside, let us have the prominence of all that ground is always telling us to get out of the way. We only have one hope, one hope is that Jesus might be merciful to us and our only alternative is to cry out as they did, Lord, son of David, have mercy upon us. That's exactly why he came became to have mercy upon us to purchase our salvation by his death upon the cross. And so when we ask for mercy. The purpose of it all is what Christmas is about what the Lord's supper is about. That's what the Gospels are about be a great tragedy to hear all that is you do. And somehow not ask for mercy and missile.
I pray that God will open your eyes to see that when they're open that you might embrace Christ as your Savior and embracing him. I find that now you're called to service do exactly the same thing as you serve others. They might see Christ in you, the trust in his mercy as well. Father, we thank you for this passage that we been able to study thank you that you are the Lord of the word of the one who was promised work powerfully through ask you to do that now say you are listening to Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by.
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