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  • For those who are participating in the Lent reading plan, do you have any highlights or thoughts to share from the past week?

Read Matthew 20:17-19

  • This is the third time Jesus has predicted his death. Read Matt 16:21 and 17:22-23. What has Jesus added in this third prediction?

Read Matthew 20:20-23

  • What do you think James and John's mother [1] wants Jesus to do? What exactly does she mean by her request?

  • What does Jesus understand is implied in her request?

  • What does he mean by his 'cup'? [2]

  • Do you think James and John (and their mother) should have understood this by now? Why/why not?

Read Matthew 20:24-28

  • Why do you think the other ten disciples reacted so badly to this?

  • How does Jesus respond to the internal conflict among his disciples. What do you notice about this?

  • Have you noticed the way that the world's rulers 'lord it over them'? Share some examples from your own experience.

  • What does true servant leadership look like? Share some examples from your own experience.

Read Isaiah 53

and spend some time in quiet contemplation, before having a time of sharing and praying together.

  • Reflect on the way this ancient poem describes Jesus, and the willing sacrifice he made for us.

  • Reflect on the way this ancient poem describes servant-leadership, and the implication of Jesus' call to follow in the way of the cross.

[1] Some people believe James and John's mother was Salome, by comparing Matthew 27:56 with Mark 15:40 & 16:1.

[2] See Matthew 26:39; Isaiah 51:17-22, Jeremiah 25:15-29.

N.T. Wright writes this in explanation:

These passages talk of what happens when the one God, grieving over the awful wickedness of the world, steps in at last to give the violent and bloodthirsty, the arrogant and oppressors, the reward for their ways and deeds. It’s as though God’s holy anger against such people is turned into wine: dark, sour wine which will make them drunk and helpless. They will be forced to ‘drink the cup’, to drain to the dregs the wrath of the God who loves and vindicates the weak and helpless. The shock of this passage — and it becomes more shocking as we go forward from here — is that Jesus speaks of drinking this cup himself.

Matthew for Everyone 2, p. 61


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