Matthew 20:28 (Reigning Through Service; Ransomed From Sin)

Recall that Jesus had just recently promised His disciples that they would sit upon thrones in His kingdom judging the tribes of Israel (Mat 19:28), but has now drawn a contrast between the disciples’ mistaken expectations regarding His kingdom and its true nature:  Unlike the kingdoms of this world where great men lord and exercise over others, in His kingdom the greatest are servants to others.  What does this teach us about what it means to sit on a throne in Christ’s kingdom and reign with Him?  With this understanding, in what way did the apostles in a very real sense come to reign with Jesus even in this life?  What does this teach us about how we too may reign with Him even now in our own lifetime?  Does such a reign now in this life negate a future reign with Jesus?  See Rev 2:26-27, 20:4.  If one is unwilling to reign with Jesus in His kingdom as a servant to others now in this temporal life on earth, should that person suppose that he will be fit to reign in the same manner with Christ in His eternal heavenly kingdom?

What ultimate act of service does Jesus mention in Mat 20:28?  Cf. Joh 15:13.  Because this word “ransom” only occurs in the gospels here and in the parallel passage of Mar 10:45, liberal scholars today in search of the “historical Jesus” assert that Jesus never viewed His death as redemptive but that these words were imparted to Jesus after the fact by the early church.  Even if this was the only instance in the gospels that indicated Jesus understood His death in terms of redemption, should we suppose that the “scholarly” opinion of academic scoffers almost two millennia later is somehow to be more believed than the eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ closest followers who died for what they believed?  Do such academicians lay down their lives in true service for others as did the disciples, and are they as willing to die for what they believe as they were?  Cf. Mat 7:16.  In fact, is this the only place in the gospels that indicates that Jesus understood His death as redemptive?  Cf. Mat 26:28, Joh 10:11-18 as well as Jesus’ multiple predictions of his suffering, death and resurrection (Joh 2:19-22, Luk 9:51, Mat 12:40, 16:21, 17:9,12,22-23, 20:18-19) in light of Job 19:25-27, 33:23-24, Isa 53:5,8,10, and Dan 9:24-26a.  Considering then the evidence, can it really be said that Jesus did not foresee and understand His death in terms of redemption?  What does this teach us about the tactics employed by men to dismiss the plain meaning of Scripture and undermine people’s faith in God?  In what way are they like Satan in doing so?  Cf. Gen 3:1.

What does the word “ransom” imply the state of man to be apart from Jesus Christ laying down His life for us?  Cf. Deut 15:15, Jer 31:11, 50:33-34, Mic 6:4.  Consider that the Jews throughout history cycled repeatedly through periods of bondage to and then deliverance from various oppressors; cf. Jdg 2:13-19.  Following their bondage and deliverance from Egypt they were alternately oppressed by and found deliverance from the Moabites, Canaanites, Midianites, Ammonites, Philistines, Edomites, Arameans, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes, Persians, Greeks, Ptolemies, and Seleucids.  In Jesus’ day they were oppressed by the Romans and / or their puppet rulers the Herodians, so that they were again looking for a Messiah to deliver them from their earthly oppressors; from their own example, is it possible to find redemption and deliverance from the kingdoms of this world system apart from redemption and deliverance from the sin that separates us from God?  See Jer 25:3-11.  What is it then that a person or people must be ransomed from in order to find real, lasting redemption and deliverance?  See Joh 8:31-36.  What implications does this have for America and its cherished freedoms and liberty?  Should we be surprised at the erosion of those freedoms and liberties as this nation has turned away from God and His righteousness?  What implications does this understanding have for Christians who seek to preserve those freedoms and liberties?  Can it ever be done simply by electing Christian leaders?  Even if righteous Christian leaders of the stature of Moses were elected, should we suppose that even they would be able to lead a stiff-necked stubbornly rebellious people into a place of rest and peace and prosperity where people have freedom and liberty?  As Christians then, what must be our priority to preserve freedom and liberty: electing Christian leaders, or changing the hearts of the people by calling them to repentance?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *