|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
10:32-45 Christ's going on with his undertaking for the salvation of mankind, was, is, and will be, the wonder of all his disciples. Worldly honour is a glittering thing, with which the eyes of Christ's own disciples have many times been dazzled. Our care must be, that we may have wisdom and grace to know how to suffer with him; and we may trust him to provide what the degrees of our glory shall be. Christ shows them that dominion was generally abused in the world. If Jesus would gratify all our desires, it would soon appear that we desire fame or authority, and are unwilling to taste of his cup, or to have his baptism; and should often be ruined by having our prayers answered. But he loves us, and will only give his people what is good for them.
Verse 38. - It will be observed that in St. Matthew (Luke 20:20). He while Salome is represented as the person who makes the request, the answer is given, not to her, but to her sons. Ye know not what ye ask. Our Lord knew that the sons had spoken in the mother and by the mother. They knew not what they asked
(1) because his kingdom was spiritual and heavenly, not carnal and earthly, as they supposed;
(2) because they sought the glory before they had gained the victory;
(3) because perhaps they thought that this kingdom was given in right of natural relationship (they were his cousins); whereas it is not given save to those who deserve it and take it by force. Are ye able to drink the cup that I drink? or to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? It is as though he said, "It is by my cross and passion that I am to attain to the kingdom; therefore the same way must be trodden by you who seek the same end." Our Lord here describes his passion as his cup. The "cup" everywhere in Holy Scripture, as well as in profane writers, signifies a man's portion, which is determined for him by God, and sent to him. The figure is derived from the ancient custom at feasts, by which the ruler of the feast tempered the wine according to his own will, and appointed to each guest his own portion, which it was his duty to drink. Our Lord then proceeds to describe his passion, which he had already spoken of as his cup, as his baptism. He uses this image because he would be totally buried, immersed, so to speak, in his passion. But it seems probable that the idea of purification entered into this image. It was a baptism of fire into which he was plunged, and out of which he came forth victorious. The fire of his bitter passion and death tried him. It was his "salting with fire." It pleased God thus to "make the Captain of our salvation perfect through sufferings." Our Lord asks these ambitious disciples whether they could drink his cup of suffering, and be baptized with his fiery baptism.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But Jesus said unto them,.... Not by granting them what they desired, but by observing their ignorance to them;
ye know not what ye ask: for sometimes good men are ignorant petitioners at the throne of grace; they are under the influence of their own spirits, and not the Spirit of God; they are prompted to ask things from a selfish principle, and not with a view to the glory of God, and their own spiritual welfare, and that of others: and indeed, the best of saints know not what they should pray for as they ought; and always stand in need of the help, assistance, and intercession of the Spirit of God; who is a Spirit of grace and supplication, and searches the deep things of God, and knows his mind and will, and what is suitable and convenient for his people; and whenever they pray without him, there is much darkness and ignorance in them, and in their petitions. In particular, these disciples knew not what they were asking for; they had no true notion of Christ's kingdom and glory, they were asking the chief places in; they were dreaming of worldly glory and grandeur, in which they imagined the kingdom of the Messiah would quickly appear: whereas his kingdom, in the present state of things, is not of this world, but of a spiritual nature; namely, the Gospel dispensation, which lies in the ministration of his word and ordinances, and in the distribution of his gifts and grace; and his kingdom and glory in the world to come, are things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard: they talked of things which would never be, either in Christ's kingdom, in earth or in heaven; fancying there would be posts of honour and profit, which some would be advanced to in it, signified by sitting at his right hand and left; whereas in the Gospel church state, the apostles, governors, and officers of the church were alike, and had no superiority over one another, but were all brethren, having one master, Christ; and the members of the churches are of the same body, and members one of another; and in the ultimate glory, there will be no degrees, but all the saints will share the same happiness:
can ye drink of the cup that I drink of, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? Which Christ speaks of in the present time, partly because his sorrows and sufferings were already begun: he had already been drinking of the cup of sorrows, being a man of sorrows and acquainted with griefs, all his days; and he was wading in the waters of affliction, though as yet they were not come into his soul, and he as it were immersed in them; he was not yet baptized with the bloody baptism he came into this world for, and he was desirous of, Luke 12:50, and partly because of the certainty of these things, the cup was not to pass from him, and the baptism of his sufferings was to be surely accomplished; See Gill on Matthew 20:22.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
38. But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask—How gentle the reply to such a request, preferred at such a time, after the sad announcement just made!
can ye drink of the cup that I drink of?—To "drink of a cup" is in Scripture a figure for getting one's fill either of good (Ps 16:5; 23:5; 116:13; Jer 16:7) or of ill (Ps 75:8; Joh 18:11; Re 14:10). Here it is the cup of suffering.
and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?—(Compare for the language, Ps 42:7). The object of this question seems to have been to try how far those two men were capable of the dignity to which they aspired and this on the principle that he who is able to suffer most for His sake will be the nearest to Him in His kingdom.
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