‘The King’s response to two men who wanted to be first’ (Matthew 20:17-28)

When James and John (through their Mum) approached Jesus in Matthew 20:17-28, they were clearly men who wanted to put themselves first. The did this even though Jesus had been speaking quite a lot about the inverse principle of His Kingdom, that the ‘first will be last and the last first’. Their request, which made the other disciples angry, was one that Jesus could not grant, but what he did do was point them to his own plans. He was going up to Jerusalem to die and give his life ‘as a ransom for many’.



• Where we are in the text
• That ‘inverse order’ principle…last & first!
• Three sets of eyes fixed on different things…
• See how Matthew tells us of …

  1. Servant eyes fixed on giving Himself (v.17-19, 28)
  2. Proud eyes fixed on gaining glory (v.21-23)
  3. Angry eyes fixed on getting even (v.24-28)

Disciples who weren’t ‘on the same page’ as Jesus…
The next men in the story
He served you! Who will you serve?

‘The King’s parable about the inverse order of his Kingdom’ (Matthew 20:1-16)

Sometimes chapter breaks in the Scriptures aren’t that helpful. The chapter break that divides the end of Matthew 19 to Matthew 20:1-16 is a prime example. In Matthew 19;30, jesus had just spoken about the ‘inverse order’ of his kingdom, that is, the ‘first will be last and the last first’. And then to illustrate that point, Jesus went on to tell a parable that makes it clear how this ‘inverse order’ principle works… and it all comes back to the same comment in Matthew 20:16, the ‘first will be last and the last first’…because salvation is not a matter of earning anything or of fairness, but is all of grace.



• When chapter breaks aren’t that helpful!
• Where we were in chapter 19
• The first/last – last/first principle
• See how the parable highlights …

  1. The just & generous nature of the master (v.1-7)
  2. The ungrateful & resentful nature of the workers (v.8-12)
  3. The abundant & unconditional nature of grace (v.13-15)

Are you trying to earn God’s favour?
Do you really understand the size of God’s grace?

‘Looking for (and finding) the source of real hope (1 Corinthians 15:1-11)

The motto of ‘let’s eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die’ is sadly all too common in our society. In fact, such a motto is nothing new, but was around in the prophet Isaiah’s day at least 700 years before Christ! The motto is often held as a philosophy of life, because many have no hope beyond the grave. In 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Paul lays down some of the fundamentals of the gospel message that centres on Christ’s death and resurrection. It is a message of hope…in fact, on this Easter Sunday, it is the only message that brings real hope.



The Uni student & the hope-less professor

  • Confusion about the after-life
  • See how Paul wrote about some fundamental building
  1. There’s truth to be believed (v.1,3-4)
  2. There’s evidence that can’t be ignored (v.5-11)
  3. There’s a challenge to be met (v.2)
    Is this hope yours?

‘The moment Jesus knew that the time had come’ (John 12:20-36)

The text of John 12:20-36 is a very significant moment in the life of Jesus – especially in relation to his impending death. It happened when some Greeks appeared and sought and audience with him. This was the signal for Jesus that his ‘time had come’…but what did that mean? What did he know? And what significance did it have to his death and resurrection? On this Good Friday, perhaps here are some answers!



o It’s not over until….
o The Greeks who sought a meeting with Jesus..
o The setting of the text
o What did this mean for Jesus? He knew…

  1. The time for His suffering had come (v.23-30)
  2. The time for His victory had come (v.31)
  3. The time for salvation had come (v.32-36)

There’s more to the story!
‘Now is the day of salvation…’ (2 Corinthians 6:1)

The King’s response to the shock about the would-be convert’ (Matthew 19:27-30)

When the disciples wtached the ‘rich young ruler’ walk away from jesus and miss out on eternal livfe, they were greatly astonished. They hadn’t thought that a rich man like him could ever miss out on salvation. And so in Matthew 19:27-30, they asked Jesus about what would happen to them. What link was there between leaving all to follow him and their reaward…if there was to be one at all?



• Continuing the story from last week
• The disciple’s shock at Jesus’ words
• Lord, what about us?
• See how the text tells us of …

  1. The question that Peter asked (v.27)
  2. The rewards that Jesus promised (v.28-29)
  3. The inverse order of the Kingdom’s rule (v.30)

The search for satisfaction is still on!
Would you rather have….?

‘The King’s response to the would-be convert’ (Matthew 19:16-26)

When the young man came to Jesus in Matthew 19:16-26 to ask about eternal life, it certainly did not go as the disciples expected it would! The young man went away from Jesus, ‘sorrowful’ and without the eternal life that he had asked Jesus for…although he did still have his money. The text is one of the greatest in the Scriptures for many reasons, especially because it brings eternal life and salvation into focus for us all!



• A really helpful text!
• The ‘rich young ruler’!
• What Jesus has been teaching about being child-like and children
• See how it tells us of the following questions…

  1. About eternal life (v.16)
  2. About the commandments (v.18)
  3. About perfection (v.20)
  4. About salvation (v.25)

Are you thinking about eternal things?
Have you grasped this principle of the gospel?

‘The King’s response to the parents’ request’ (Matthew 19:13-15)

When Matthew records that people were bringing their children to Jesus to bless them in Matthew 19:13-15, he also records that the disciples acted as bodyguards of Jesus and tried to protect him from the children! Mark’s gospel records that at this point Jesus rebuked the disciples and went ahead and blessed the children. There’s a point to note there. Jesus was not unwilling to receive them or bless them. However, the disciples most certainly were … to their loss.



• Further on into Matthew’s gospel!
• All of us are, or once were, children!
• The context of this event, children in the gospels
• See how these verses tell us of …

  1. The moment Jesus rebuked his disciples (v.13, Mk 10:14)
  2. The lessons Jesus gave to His disciples (v.14)
  3. The blessing Jesus gave to the children (v.15)

Prize highly the family unit!
Prize highly the church family unit!

‘Darkness, light, blood and soap’ (1 John 1:5-2:2)

John’s first letter is full of many theological truths that help us to shape our understanding of the gospel. 1 John 1:5-2:2 is a text just like that. In it, John explores themes of light and darkness, confession and cleansing, as well as opening up for us the heart of the gospel message and the path to daily cleansing of our sins.



• A different text for these reasons
• Why was John writing this letter?
• John’s thesis: God is light and has no darkness…
• See how these verses tell us of …

  1. What is true of those in the darkness (v.6, 8, 10)
  2. What is true of those in the light (v.7, 9, 2:1)
  3. What God has done to bring us from darkness to light (2:2)

How can you bring light and darkness together?
The free offer of forgiveness!

‘The King’s response to a hot topic’ (Matthew 19:1-12)

When the Pharisees sought to- trap Jesus by their question about divorce in Matthew 19:1-12, Jesus was not backward in coming forward with his response. While the Pharisees tended to be quite lax with regard to laws about divorce, Jesus insisted that God’s good design for marriage in Genesis 2:18-25 was enough! Interestingly, he said all this in the context of helping and healing others. He was no narrow-minded bigot who cared nothing for people around him. Instead, while holding strong to the Word of God, he also backed up his words with caring deeds.



‘The King’s response to a hot topic’
• Unlimited forgiveness. Always?
• The Pharisees seeking to trap Jesus…
• Jesus unafraid to answer their questions
• See how these verses tell us of …

  1. What Jesus was doing (v.1-2)
  2. How Jesus responded (v.3-9)
  3. How the disciples responded (v.10-12)

Marriage matters!
No additional burdens to those who feel a failure!

‘The King’s measure of forgiveness’ (Matthew 18:21-35)

After Jesus had challenged his disciples to follow certain steps in order to ensure that conflict between them be quickly resolved, Peter was quick to ask a question and Jesus was quick to give him an answer! All this can be found in Matthew 18:21-35. Peter’s question had to do with ‘how many times he ought to forgive his brother for an offence’ and Jesus’ answer was both plain and then couched in terms of a parable. The parable adds weight to Jesus’ answer, that the forgiveness that Peter should offer to his brother when offended has no limits. None at all.



• The all-important context
• The question Peter thought of and asked…
• Conflict among the 12?
• See how from these verses we can note…

  1. What was implied in Peter’s question (v.21)
  2. What was implied by Jesus’ answer (v.22-34)
  3. What was implied by Jesus’ conclusion (v.35)

What is your debt to God?
Where do all these implications touch you the most?