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July 12: Kingdom Greatness (Matthew 20:17-28)

Adult Education

This Sunday Josh Herring will begin a new series on church history in the youth room at 9:00am, focusing on the roots of the Reformation and how theology develops over time. Ray Rutledge will be in the Adult 1 classroom continuing through The Gospel Project.


Matthew 20:17-28

And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (ESV)


Sermon Summary

Jesus continues to instruct his disciples on the inverted nature of the kingdom of God. This is nowhere seen in greater clarity than in the area of true greatness. While we may think of greatness in terms of power, athleticism or heroism in the face of daunting odds, Jesus paints a different picture. Jesus speaks of greatness as marked by service, even sacrificial service. He does more than just describe this greatness, but he also displays it through giving his life for us. The gospel is a picture of greatness from God's viewpoint. "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!" (Rom 11:33) 


Review and Apply

  1. Why is Jesus predicting for the third time that he will die? And what is different here than the previous two predictions?
  2. Is your definition of greatness closer to James and John or Jesus?
  3. What does it mean to drink from the cup of which Jesus drinks?
  4. What is God's path to glory? How ought this to change our view of suffering?
  5. In what ways do you currently serve others?
  6. How is the gospel supposed to inform your service?
  7. How does the gospel inspire your sacrificial service?