CHAPTER XXIX

JOURNEY FROM JERICHO TO JERUSALEM

ACCORDING TO THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW
(Matthew 20:17-34)


17 And when Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve aside privately; and on the road He said to them, 18 Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death. 19 And they will deliver Him to the heathen to mock, to flog, and to crucify; but on the third day He will be raised.

20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Him with her sons, bowing down, and asking something from Him. 21 Then He said to her, What do you want? She said to Him, Command that these my two sons may sit, one at Thy right hand and one at Thy left hand, in Thy kingdom. 22 Replying, Jesus said, You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup which I am about to drink? They said to Him, We are able. 23 He said to them, My cup you shall drink, but to sit at My right hand and at My left hand is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father. 24 When the ten heard this, they became angry toward the two brothers. 25 And Jesus called them and said, You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 But it shall not be thus among you, but whoever among you wants to be great, let him be your servant; 27 and whoever among you wants to be first, let him be your servant, 28 even as the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.

29 And as they were going out of Jericho, a large multitude followed Him. 30 And, lo, sitting beside the road and hearing that Jesus was passing by, two blind men cried out, saying, Lord, have mercy on us, Thou Son of David. 31 And the multitude rebuked them that they should be silent; but they cried out the more, saying, Lord, have mercy on us, Thou Son of David. 32 And Jesus stopped, called them, and said, What do you will that I do for you? 33 They said to Him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. 34 Being moved with pity, Jesus touched their eyes, and immediately their sight was restored, and they followed Him.


I. PREDICTIONS REGARDING THE CRUCIFIXION
(Matthew 20:17-19)

IMMEDIATELY after Peter had confessed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the living God, Jesus began to foretell His coming death at Jerusalem; but He assured the apostles that He would rise on the third day (Matt. 16:21; 17:22,23; 20:17-19). At various times during the last six months of His life, He called attention to this seeming catastrophe. Being blinded by human theories, the apostles were not able to comprehend these predictions.

II. SELFISH AMBITION
(Matthew 20:20-28)

Believing that Jesus would establish an earthly political kingdom at that time, the mother of James and John, together with her two sons, came to Jesus and asked a special favor; namely, that one of her sons should sit on the right hand of Jesus and the other on the left in His kingdom. Needless to say, this request was denied. Selfishness usually disqualifies a person for loyal, true, loving service. The one who wishes to be greatest must become the servant of all.

III. THE TWO JERICHOS
(Matthew 20:19-34)

According to Matthew 20:19-34, when Jesus, on His way to Jerusalem, went out of Jericho, two blind men sitting by the road cried out that He should heal them, and He did. According to Luke 18:35-43, the healing occurred while He was drawing near to Jericho. Here only one blind man is mentioned.

An examination of both passages shows that the two evangelists were talking about the same event. One mentions two blind men, whereas the other speaks of only one. According to Matthew, moreover, Jesus and those with Him were going out of Jericho, whereas Luke states that they were drawing near Jericho. This contradiction is only apparent, and not real.

Archaeologists have unearthed the Roman Jericho, about four miles from ancient Jericho of Joshua's day. The road from the Jordan up to Jerusalem ran by or through both of these Jerichos. Thus an event that occurred when Jesus and the multitudes were on the road, having left the first Jericho and approaching the second, could be said to have occurred when He was going out of Jericho and also when He was drawing near to the other Jericho. Archaeologists have shown the accuracy of both accounts. Matthew says that there were two blind men, whereas Luke speaks of one. There were two; but, as in all instances where there are two or more men, there is one that has leadership and takes the initiative. Although Luke speaks about the more aggressive one who took the initiative, he does not deny that a second one was healed. Thus there is perfect harmony existing between the two records.