Matthew 20:29–34 (ESV)
Heals Two Blind Men
29 And as they went out of Jericho, a great crowd followed him. 30 And
behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 31 The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent,
but they cried out all the more, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” 32 And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” 33 They said
to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” 34 And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him.
Though the nearness of the crowd and His own impending death weigh heavily on Him, Jesus is not too preoccupied to help two men in desperate need.
Like the people in Jericho who tried to silence the two blind men, we also may tend to treat persons in need as nuisances. Yet Jesus painstakingly extended His ministry to all in need, showing care and concern for them. We, too, have received His grace.
I pray: “Amazing grace—how sweet the sound—That saved a wretch
like me! I once was lost but now am found, Was blind but now I see!” Amen. 
Matthew 20:20–28 (ESV)
A Mother’s Request
20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her
sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. 21 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.” 22 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.” 23 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.” 24 And when the ten heard it, they were indignant
at the two brothers. 25 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. 26 It shall
not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but
to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus continues to convince His disciples that in His kingdom, humility and service, not acclaim and power, are most highly valued. Just as it was among the Twelve, so also today
the lust for power and control over others continues to be a problem in the Christian community. Though many things make Jesus great—among them His role in creating and preserving all things—it is His sacrificial death that is most wonderful for
I pray: We thank You, Lord Jesus, for though You were unspeakably rich, You willingly became poor, that by Your great poverty we might become rich. Amen.
Jesus Foretells His Death a Third Time
17 And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, 18 “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 19 and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” 
For a third and final time, Jesus predicts His Passion. Ironically, Jesus’ three predictions match the number
of Peter’s denials. The depth of humanity’s sin is such that only the death of God’s Son can atone for it. No one took Jesus’ life from Him, as His Passion predictions make clear. Rather, He willingly laid down His life in order to
I pray: “Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast Save in the death of Christ, my God.… Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul,
my life, my all!” Amen. 
Matthew 20:1–16 (ESV)
Laborers in the Vineyard
20 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for
a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ 5 So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. 6 And
about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ 7 They said
to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ 8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their
wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ 9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when those hired first came, they thought
they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you
have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take
what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ 16 So
the last will be first, and the first last.”
Serving the Lord’s
kingdom is a privilege and labor of love, not something undertaken to gain a reward. When we begin to think that God’s kingdom needs or depends on us, we get it completely
backward. We need and depend on it! Through forgiveness and the renewing work of God’s Spirit, we can indeed be used by God for vital service in His kingdom.
I pray: Keep me ever mindful, Lord, that it is only by grace
that I have been included in Your kingdom and am privileged to serve in it. Amen.
Matthew 19:16–30 (ESV)
The Rich Young Man
16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And
he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall
not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The
young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and
come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus said to his disciples,
“Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of
God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible,
but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly,
I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers
or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
The question asked by the rich young man seems to be a valid question… even today! “What good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Humans are wired to think if you can
beat it… buy it! Try to accomplish the good deed, or pay for it. Our eternal life is not earned or purchased but comes to us through the gift of faith. The Lutheran Study Bible states: “We cannot earn eternal life through our
good works; we can only receive it by God’s grace. But Jesus still rewards our sacrifices and service for Him. Trying to earn eternal life is a losing proposition. The perfection this requires is impossible for us sinners. Through faith in Christ, God
freely gives us the gift of eternal life. And if that were not enough, He rewards the sacrifices made for His kingdom a hundredfold!”
I pray: By
Your grace, Father, You have adopted us and made us heirs of eternal life. Move us to respond to such kindness by willingly sacrificing for You. Amen.