So, Who Exactly Is The Greatest? | Catholic Bible Study

by Catholic Bible Studies And Reflections, Lent, Mass

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Matthew 20:17-28

Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time

17 Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them,
18 “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death
19 and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

A Mother’s Request

20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.
21 “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”
22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered.
23 Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”
24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers.
25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.
26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”


When people go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, there are two places every pilgrim encounters grace. Once on the Sea of Galilee. Once during the Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem. Other than that, people have individual, completely unpredictable moments of grace. Galilee and Jerusalem are constants in this journey. In this Gospel, Jesus is taking the Apostles from Galilee to Jerusalem. Jesus knows what this journey means. It is His path to the Cross. His Apostles have other things on their minds. A couple of brothers are vying for the seats of honor on either side of the King of kings. Their mother does the heavy lifting in trying to secure the spots for her boys. The rest of the Apostles are having hissy fits about the posturing and positioning among the ranks. They are stuck in the mindset of the kingdoms of men. There is another Kingdom. The Kingdom of the God-Man, Jesus Christ. Can you drink of this royal cup? Can you accept a place of honor with a path that passes through mocking, scourging, crucifixion and death before it receives glory and encounters majesty? Jesus ponders the Cross that awaits Him as they walk the eighty miles from Galilee to Jerusalem. He hears the murmuring. He recognizes the spirits that already toy with His Apostles. His words to the men now echo in His Spirit. “I am going up to Jerusalem. There is a chalice there that I must drink.” For the sake of the Plan set before the foundation of the world, the Master looks down at His feet, and He keeps moving them toward the Cross. There is much to learn between Galilee and Jerusalem. He knows that Galilee has taught them how to live. Jerusalem will teach them how to die.   About the Author: Denise Bossert is a convert to the Catholic Church. She is the daughter of a Protestant minister.  In 2005, she converted to Catholicism after reading books by Carmelite saints. Her syndicated column called Catholic by Grace has been published in 63 diocesan newspapers. She has also written for Catholic magazines and appeared on EWTN’s Journey Home and Women of Grace.  In May 2014 she traveled to Israel with the Catholic Press Association as a guest of Israel’s Ministry of Tourism. Ave Maria Press released her first book in March 2015–Gifts of the VisitationLiguori Publications released her Stations of the Cross for a Wounded World in February 2018. Denise is a Catholic speaker on topics that include: conversion, the Immaculate Conception, the Visitation and Women of Salvation History. Listen to a clip from the American Catholic Radio interview with Denise or watch her video below.  
Featured Image Attribution: Duccio di Buoninsegna [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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