Chapter 19 of the Gospel of Matthew records the encounter Jesus has with the rich man. In the last verse of that chapter Jesus said, "But many who are first will be last, and the last first." Next He tells the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. (20: 1-16) Jesus ends that parable with a repeat of what He had just said a moment ago, "So the last will be first, and the first will be last." Then, according to Matthew, Jesus foretells of His death and resurrection--God incarnate to suffer at the hands of His own creatures.
Immediately after this, a woman came to Jesus with a request. She was the mother of the first disciples that Jesus called, James and John. He asked her, "What do you want?" She asked Jesus to place her two sons next to Jesus "in your kingdom". Jesus asked the two disciples if they were able to "drink from the cup that I am to drink?" and they replied, "We are able." Jesus tells them that they will drink of His cup but for them it will be different. They will suffer, for sure, but they are not like Him.
What comes right after the disciples' mother's deafened request comes two blind men who had heard that Jesus was passing by. They cried out, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" Jesus asked them, "What do you want me to do for you?" They cried out, "Lord, let our eyes be opened." Jesus touched their eyes and they could see again and followed Him. The mother had asked for status while the blind men sought mercy.
A Christian psychologist recently summarized his observations of human thinking. He wrote, "By itself, our conscience seems to have little or nothing to do with God. It operates as kind of an internal court of law in which we play all the roles; we sit in the judge's seat and stand as the person on trial; we act as the counsel for both prosecution and defense. The problem with our conscience is that, by itself, it does not provide any proper criteria by which we can rightly address ourselves and others...it's like a compass without a magnetic pole." That is a result of The Fall as our nature changed
Jesus' own disciples were deaf to His teachings. We don't know what courtroom scene was playing in their minds while Jesus was teaching them about life in the Kingdom of God on earth. The god of this age, the devil, would have us believe that we deserve to be seated on high in this fallen kingdom, but he also invades our own personal courtrooms accusing us of crimes against God, trying to convince us that we are too guilty for the Kingdom of Heaven.
Some sixty years later, that same disciple John recorded the real final courtroom scene where believers' names are found written in The Book of Life. (Revelation 20:15) Satan accuses, but he cannot be judge, and we have no defense on our own. May we daily ask the Lord to open our ears to hear His Word. Then, our eyes will be opened, and we will see His cross, and we'll know what He has done for us. Gloria Deo--Glory to God.
Rev. Timothy Matthew
of Redeemer Lutheran