Sunday, February 5, 2012

You Do Not Know What You Are Asking

Matthew 20:17-28

The Lord Jesus predicted His death and resurrection for the third time (Matthew 20:17-19).


James and John and their mother came to the Lord Jesus with a request. They wanted to sit either side of the Lord Jesus in Heaven. They wanted the best and the most exalted place, little wonder that the other disciples were moved with indignation against them.

The Lord Jesus answered them, “You don’t know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”

His cup was one of appalling suffering but James and John insisted that they were able to drink of such a cup.

They did suffer for the Lord Jesus! James was killed by Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:1-2). John, who lived longer than any of the 12 disciples, spent the end of his life in exile (Revelation 1:9).

There is no easy way to blessing and fruitfulness in the Christian life. Those who would know Christ best will also know the fellowship of His suffering.

When James and John made their request to the Lord, He said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking”. We often do the same thing when we pray. We may ask God to give us a position in the church which would be disastrous both for us and for the church. We may ask for things which would only hinder our walk with the Lord.

Our heavenly Father delights to hear our prayers, but we do not always realize the implications of our requests being granted. It is for our good that He doesn’t always say, “Yes,” or answer us in the way we expect.

We must beware of seeking power for ourselves. Selfish ambition and pride have wrecked many a church!

Jesus said that the way to true greatness lies in humble service. If we deny ourselves and take up our cross, selfish ambition will be kept in check in our lives.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

The Lord Jesus is our great example. Let us follow Him.

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