Tuesday, March 10. Matthew 20:17-34.
Have you ever become someone’s friend, or maybe even dated someone, so that you could become part of their world? Maybe it was because they were part of the popular crowd, or maybe it was because their family had money and cool stuff, or maybe it was because they were really smart and could help you with your homework. Whatever the reason, you liked this person for what you could get out of the relationship.
If you’ve never done this, then perhaps you know of someone who has. When we do this, we can often be tempted to overlook certain negative aspects of the relationship. Often times this can lead to being with an abuser, a cheater, or end in financial and emotional ruin. We get into this situation because our vision of what we can get out of the relationship blinded us to the truth about the person.
That is what is happening in our reading today. Jesus’ disciples believed that Jesus was going to Jerusalem to establish himself as the new King of Israel. He was going to overthrow the corrupt king, get rid of the oppressive Romans, and establish a glorious kingdom, like David did in the old days. They had visions of grandeur and thought that Jesus would place each of them in seats of authority and power in his kingdom.
This must have frustrated Jesus and broken his heart. Even though he had just told them that he was going to Jerusalem to hand himself over to the authorities to be executed, they couldn’t hear him, they couldn’t see what he was saying. They were blinded by their vision of greatness.
Ironically, the only people who could actually see Jesus for who he is were the two blind men. They knew that Jesus could heal them, and, more importantly, that Jesus cared enough to take the time to talk to people who were considered cursed, outcast, and not worth saving.
The disciples eventually learned that following Jesus is not about achieving greatness. It is about giving up greatness–and giving up your life–to become a servant to all people. Each one of them were eventually executed for following Jesus. Following Jesus is about becoming blind to the ways of the world so that we can see with the eyes of God, and love everyone equally.