|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
20:20-28 The sons of Zebedee abused what Christ said to comfort the disciples. Some cannot have comforts but they turn them to a wrong purpose. Pride is a sin that most easily besets us; it is sinful ambition to outdo others in pomp and grandeur. To put down the vanity and ambition of their request, Christ leads them to the thoughts of their sufferings. It is a bitter cup that is to be drunk of; a cup of trembling, but not the cup of the wicked. It is but a cup, it is but a draught, bitter perhaps, but soon emptied; it is a cup in the hand of a Father, Joh 18:11. Baptism is an ordinance by which we are joined to the Lord in covenant and communion; and so is suffering for Christ, Eze 20:37; Isa 48:10. Baptism is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace; and so is suffering for Christ, for unto us it is given, Php 1:29. But they knew not what Christ's cup was, nor what his baptism. Those are commonly most confident, who are least acquainted with the cross. Nothing makes more mischief among brethren, than desire of greatness. And we never find Christ's disciples quarrelling, but something of this was at the bottom of it. That man who labours most diligently, and suffers most patiently, seeking to do good to his brethren, and to promote the salvation of souls, most resembles Christ, and will be most honoured by him to all eternity. Our Lord speaks of his death in the terms applied to the sacrifices of old. It is a sacrifice for the sins of men, and is that true and substantial sacrifice, which those of the law faintly and imperfectly represented. It was a ransom for many, enough for all, working upon many; and, if for many, then the poor trembling soul may say, Why not for me?
Verse 27. - Whosoever will be (qe/lh""... εϊναι) chief (first, πρῶτος)... servant (bondservant, δοῦλος). The characteristic of the Christian ruler should be humility. Christ enforces the teaching of the previous verse more emphatically by altering the terms in which it was stated. "Great" now becomes "first;" "minister," "slave." Of these two last words the former would imply rather occasional service, to meet some temporary call; the latter, the regular business of a slave bound to his master at all times. We do not gather from this passage that the Christian minister, called by God, is to take his doctrine from his congregation, or to be directed by them in his labours; but he is to devote time, talents, faculties, to the good of his flock, to spend and be spent in their service, to let no private interests or pursuits interfere with his manifold duties to those whom he oversees. The same sentiment is found in Matthew 23:11.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And whosoever will be chief among you,.... Or first, or have the pre-eminence, the first place in the kingdom of the Messiah,
let him be your servant; or, as in Mark,
shall be servant of all: not only a minister, but a servant; not a servant of some only, but of all. This was verified in the Apostle Paul, who became a servant to all men, though he was free, that he might gain some to Christ; and by so doing was the chief, though he reckoned himself the least of the apostles, yea, less than the least of all saints. The Jews have a saying somewhat like this, that (h).
"everyone that makes himself as a servant, for the words of the law in this world, shall be made free in the world to come.''
(h) T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 35. 2.
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