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Matthew 20 Reading Guide

Dig In:


  • v1-16 - Jesus' parable illustrates that God's grace is not apportioned according to how much a person 'deserves' it.

  • v17-19 - For the third time now, Jesus tells His disciples exactly what will happen as they go into Jerusalem. This time Matthew doesn't record any reactions to what Jesus said, but on the earlier occasions, the disciples' grief over Jesus impending death completely overshadows the predictions of resurrection Jesus makes. Human nature loves to cling to bad news and ignore good news!

  • v20-28 - The mother of two of the three disciples who were invited up the mountain for Jesus' transfiguration tries to secure the best spots in heaven for her boys. After explaining that this cup was more than they could drink, Jesus explains that those who strive to be first will actually be last.

  • v29-34 - Jesus performs the final healing miracle of His ministry by restoring the sight of two blind men.

Dig Deeper:

There are two bold requests made in this chapter: one from James & John's mother (giving us a hint, perhaps, as to why Mark notes that Jesus calls these two the 'Sons of Thunder'), and one from the two blind men.

First, notice that both seem to do a good job in acknowledging who Jesus is:

​James & John's mother

Two blind men

(20) Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.

​(30) Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

(31) The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”

What becomes really evident is the difference in their alignment between what they want and what Jesus wants. This affects what they ask for when Jesus responds to both of them with the exact same question: “What is it you want? (v21, 32)"

​James & John's mother

Two blind men

(21) “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”

​(33) “we want our sight.” (NIV)

In one sense, the blind men's request could be classified as just as self-centered as the mother's request. But these blind men are asking for far than meets the eye (no pun intended). The ESV does a better job of translating their request:

Lord, let our eyes be opened.

Jesus gives them what they asked for on two levels. He certainly opened their eyes physically. But whereas the boys' mother asked that Jesus give her sons some of His glory, these blind men asked that Jesus open their eyes so they could see His glory, and in this way, these blind men's request is fully aligned with Jesus' mission: opening the eyes of sinful man that they might see the salvation Christ offers.

Do your best to not only Acknowledge who God is as you pray to Him, but to pray for Alignment of your life with His will so that you Ask for things that He will grant.


Psalm 146:8 (NIV)

the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.


Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:

  1. EYE FOR DETAIL— In the incident at the end of the chapter, what were the two blind men in Jericho shouting to Jesus? (See verses 30–31.)

Thomas, Mack. The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament

Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The great King who is generous beyond all measure (v15).

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Whoever wants to become great must become a servant, and whoever wants to be first must become a slave (v26-27).



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