Matthew 20:17–19: Discipleship in Death and Resurrection

by Apr 1, 2024Premium, The Gospel of Matthew

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As Jesus approaches closer to Jerusalem, he has several items of business that he must still address before his arrival. In this first story, Jesus speaks privately with his disciples to explain to them his third prediction that Jerusalem would be a place where he would suffer and die, but on the third day be raised from the dead. In this astonishing statement, Jesus continues to teach and prepare his disciples not only for what he must endure, but what they must endure as they follow him as his disciples. Through this passage, Jesus is still calling us to seek Jesus’ resurrection reward.

Discussion Questions

1. How does the transitional conjunction “and” at the beginning of v. 17 connect this passage with what has come before? How does this passage fit in thematically with the next story about the request from the mother of James and John? What awaits Jesus in “Jerusalem” (Mat. 16:21)? Why does Jesus take aside his disciples privately to tell them this? What might Matthew mean when he describes this teaching as happening “on the way” (v. 17)?

2. How does Jesus’ emphasis that “we” are going up to Jerusalem connect his own fate with the disciples? Why is it surprising that Jesus would tell his disciples that the “Son of Man” should suffer in these ways (see Dan. 7:13–14)? Who are the “chief priests and scribes,” and what is their role in Jesus’ suffering? How will the Gentiles be involved? What must happen to Jesus when he enters Jerusalem?

3. What kind of benefit is it that Jesus will be “raised on the third day” (v. 19b)? How does that simple description weigh against the lengthy description of all the suffering that Jesus must face? Why would Jesus willingly undergo such extensive torment for the hope of being “raised on the third day”? What does this tell us about the relative value and power of the resurrection? How should this shape our understanding of the resurrection?

4. What rewards are you seeking from this life? Where is your hope in this life and the next? Is the resurrection a comfort to you in your life right now? Why or why not? If so, to what degree does the promise of the resurrection strengthen you in the face of the specific nature of suffering that you are facing right now? How might you grow in valuing the resurrection increasingly more in the way that Jesus did?