Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
After the Lord spoke regarding the requirements of the kingdom and the kingdom reward, He was still concerned about the spiritual situation of His followers. Therefore, after giving His disciples a definition of the kingdom reward, He spoke to them again about His coming crucifixion and resurrection. The Lord also knows our real situation today. Although we may not think that we need a further word or a further revelation, the Lord knows our need.
In 20:17-19 the Lord unveiled for the third time His crucifixion and resurrection. The first was in Caesarea Philippi, before His transfiguration (16:13, 21). The second was in Galilee, after His transfiguration (17:22). This time was on the way to Jerusalem. This revelation was a prophecy, altogether strange to the natural concept of the disciples, yet fulfilled literally in every detail.
It seems to me rather unusual that after the definition of the kingdom reward the Lord would once again unveil His crucifixion and resurrection. Apparently this has no significance. However, if you get into the depth of this book, you will see that this is a very significant continuation. In order to receive the kingdom reward, we need to experience the cross and the resurrection. Although we may know everything regarding the kingdom, we must still have a proper grasp of the Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection. Apart from experiencing the Lord’s cross and resurrection, it is impossible to experience the Lord’s life for the reward of the kingdom. In Philippians 3 Paul said that for Christ’s sake he counted all things but dung. Then he said that he desired to know Christ and the power of His resurrection that he might be conformed to Christ’s death. Paul had an adequate understanding of the Lord’s death and resurrection. This understanding is for us to experience Christ as our life for the kingdom. For the kingdom reward, we need the experience of the Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection. Thus, 20:17-19 is a continuation of the foregoing section.
The third time the Lord revealed His crucifixion and resurrection He did so to His disciples again. As He was going to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside and told them about His coming crucifixion and resurrection. The Lord must have had a specific purpose in doing this. He specifically told the twelve that He needed to go to Jerusalem, to be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, to be condemned to death, to be delivered to the Gentiles, to be mocked, scourged, and crucified, and to be resurrected on the third day. He spoke to His disciples concerning His death and resurrection in a detailed way.
What was the disciples’ reaction to the Lord’s full unveiling of His crucifixion and resurrection? They did not say, “Amen, Lord. The first and second times we didn’t see this. Thank You, Lord, for taking us aside this time and purposely telling us about this. Now we realize that You must pass through death and resurrection. No doubt this includes all of us. Eventually, we also shall experience this wonderful death and resurrection.” The disciples definitely did not react like this. Rather, verses 20 and 21 say, “Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Him with her sons, worshipping and asking something of Him. And He said to her, What do you desire? She said to Him, Say that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and one on Your left, in Your kingdom.” The mother of the sons of Zebedee was the Lord’s aunt, His mother’s sister, and Zebedee’s sons, James and John, were His cousins. Thus, there was a natural relationship between them and the Lord. Immediately after the Lord had unveiled His death and resurrection for the third time, the mother of James and John came to Him asking that her two sons might sit on His right hand and left hand in the kingdom. Although the Lord had spoken of the crucifixion and the resurrection, their mind was set on the throne. Often we are exactly like James and John. Again and again they heard about the crucifixion and the resurrection. But in them and in their mother there was the desire for the throne. This is the ambition for position. The mother of James and John might have said to herself, “One day, when the Lord is enthroned, maybe my two sons will be sitting one on His right hand and the other on His left hand. How glorious this would be!” This was their reaction to the Lord’s word about His death and resurrection.
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