The Suffering Son of Man
Matthew Lesson #113
March 13, 2016
“Our Father, we’re thankful we have Your Word. We’re thankful that it has been preserved for us down through the centuries, that we have accurate translations, but also the original so that we can come to understand more precisely that which You have revealed to us.
Father, we pray that You would open the eyes of our soul to the truth of Your Word today, that we may not be distracted by the cares of this life, by the plans for the afternoon or this week, or reacting to whatever happened in the past week, but that our focus will be upon You as the source of strength in life and everything that we have, that we might be willing to take up the challenge of our Lord to be disciples, to grow and mature to spiritual maturity, that we might glorify You in every area of our life.
And we pray that the time that we have in Your Word will honor and glorify You. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.”
Open your Bibles with me to Matthew 20, and today we’ll just be looking at three verses, verses 17–19. When we look at these verses, we might initially look at them, and say, “Well, that just seems pretty simple. It’s just another one of these statements that Jesus makes where He is warning the disciples of what is about to transpire.”
But there’s a lot more to it than that. As I was studying this week, looking at this entire section going down to verse 28, which will end our study of this section in Matthew that began in Matthew 18:1, I began to ask certain questions, like, “Why is this here? Why did Matthew put this here?”
You know, some of the important questions that we should all ask when we read the Bible are “Why this? Why here? Why now? Why didn’t he put this at the end when you clearly have a shift because it really doesn’t seem like this is a statement that necessarily has to go here.”
After all, there are times in the Gospels when things are told out of chronological order. So why this? Why here? Why at this point? What does this have to do with the flow of the main theme that we’ve been studying in Matthew 18 down through 20, which deals with this issue of trying to be somebody, trying to have status in the kingdom?
This thing just keeps going on and on and again and again, that Jesus is confronting the disciples with the fact that you’ve got your eyes on the wrong thing. You’re looking forward to being somebody in the kingdom. You’re looking forward to having some sort of position or prestige. That’s your focal point, and that’s not right. That’s not the mentality of a disciple. You need to be like a child.
As we’ve studied, being like a child did not mean that they were not self-absorbed, or they weren’t focused on other things. It meant that they did not have position because a child in that culture had no position or even presence in the culture. They had no status. They were to be a nobody.
This is what keeps repeating here along with Jesus teaching that certain characteristics needed to be present in the life of a disciple.
He needed to be someone who forgave.
Now one of the things that is a road block to forgiving other people is that we’re so concerned about our own feelings and how we’ve been treated and what’s been done to us—we are so involved in who we are that we can’t forgive somebody else. All of these things are wrapped around the same principle.
Last time we looked at how this parable of the workers in the vineyard relates back to the rich young ruler. In all of these, Jesus is teaching about being a disciple—that it requires humility in the sense that you’re not concerned about your agenda at all or your own status in the kingdom, but the focal point is on service.
And I’ve said it again and again that it’s about service, and it’s not about status.
All of this is going to be brought to a conclusion in this last episode recorded in verses 20–28 when Salome asks, “Well, I want my boys to sit at Your left and right hand when You have Your kingdom.”
We’re going to get to that, but it’s interesting how Matthew sets this up and structures this. So there are lots of things that we need to talk about here.
I started making a list:
- We have the doctrine of the Son of Man.
- We have the doctrine related to the death of Christ, of course, but that’s a sub-category of the doctrines related to the suffering of Christ.
- We have doctrines related here in terms of the baptism of the cup and what that means.
- We also have statements related to leadership and authority and how that is to be exercised by a disciple, by a believer.
- And then we also have the emphasis on the focus of service and serving one another as Christ has served us.
So as I started listing this last week, I realized, “Hmm, we won’t get out of this chapter ‘til May!” There is a lot here because we need to tie it all together as well with a really good summary of what we have learned about rewards and judgments that are a part of every one of these particular statements.
This morning we’re going to focus on a key doctrine that is brought out at the opening in verses 17–19, and returned to in verses 27 and 28.
And that is the suffering Son of Man.
Just looking at that title briefly, we could spend quite a bit of time talking about the doctrine of the Son of Man, but we won’t due to time constraints.
So we come to these three verses in Matthew 20:17–19, and we’re told, “Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, ‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again.’ ”
Now as we look at this, I want you to think of these as an introduction, as a necessary transition in Matthew’s thinking between the Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard and the next event that happens, which is Salome coming to Jesus to see if she can get Jesus to give a high place to her sons James and John.
As we read this section in Matthew 20:17–28, we have an emphasis on the suffering and the death of Christ on the Cross in verses 17–19 at the introduction.
Then when we come to the end of the section, we have a return to that theme when Jesus says, “Whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.”
In both Matthew 20:18 and then again in Matthew 20:28 we have the use of this term “Son of Man.” Both of those sections focus on what’s going to happen in terms of the suffering of Christ and His death in Jerusalem.
We get a specific understanding of what that is about in verse 28. So this serves to bracket our section.
In the military or in the Navy when you’re shooting artillery, a principle is to bracket the target. First you overshoot it, then you undershoot it, and now you’ve got the range, and then you can nail it.
In language, this does the same kind of thing when you are structuring literature. It frames the thing that you are talking about, but it also introduces what the sub-themes are that are going on in this particular section.
At the beginning here, we simply see Jesus on His way to Jerusalem.
Now let me plug this in a little bit to the broader perspective of the life of Christ. We’re told at the beginning of Matthew 19 that Jesus and His disciples left Galilee, and they traveled south. This would be in the vicinity of Jericho, but they were in the region of Judea that’s beyond the Jordan.
They are in this area that’s probably about eight or nine miles or so to the east of Jericho, and they are leaving this area along the Jordan and heading up to Jerusalem.
Now sometime in this area, if we read John 11, Jesus is ministering in that area roughly around the time when He hears word that Lazarus is sick and may die. So He tells His disciples that that his sickness was for the glory of God, so we’re going to hang around here and continue to minister for the next couple of days.
That took place at this same time, so perhaps these events that we’re talking about in Matthew 20:19–20 take place at that particular time or very close to that time.
Then Jesus is going to go to Bethan. But when we get to Chapter 21 on this particular trip that’s described, they end up entering Jerusalem on the triumphal entry, on the Sunday before His arrest and His crucifixion, one week before the resurrection.
So here we are in Matthew 21, and we’re not going to get to the crucifixion and resurrection until Chapter 27. So everything that occurs in the next chapters takes place during that period from the Sunday before the Cross, Palm Sunday, until the Cross, which is described in Matthew 27. So we’re really going to slow down and narrow our focus to a lot of things that go on within a very short period of time.
Now Jesus probably went to Bethany, came back, and now is on this last trip to Jerusalem. We’re told He’s on the way up to Jerusalem. You’ll always go up to Jerusalem. Jerusalem has a higher elevation than a lot of Israel, so you’re going up to Jerusalem.
The Old City of Jerusalem has an elevation of about 3,800 feet. And those of you who’ve been to Israel before know that if you are down at the Jordan River, which is at the northern end of the Dead Sea, you’re at one of the lowest places that you can be on the face of the earth.
The Dead Sea is 1,400 feet below sea level. And Jerusalem, the old city, is at 3,800 feet above sea level. So that’s about 5,200 feet difference. That’s pretty close to a mile of elevation difference between the Jordan and Jerusalem.
So one of the things you should keep in mind as you’re thinking about this, in just getting a feel for what’s going on, is that distance, that linear distance, is no more than 20 miles. It may be a little bit less.
And if you think about where Eldridge Rd crosses I-10 to downtown, that’s roughly the distance. In that distance you’re going to walk up a mile in height—5,200 feet. So it’s huff and a puff, but it’s not too bad because you’re not oxygen deprived. But it’s a good walk, and this is in the Spring, so it’s not going to be too hot, but the sun’s going to be pretty bright because that’s a very arid desert area.
So this is describing their walk from the Jordan to Jericho, which is a climb maybe of about 500 or 600 feet.
There are others in the entourage; we know Salome’s there, but there are other women who are traveling with them. There are other people. When they leave Jericho at the end of this chapter, we’re told that there’s a mob that goes with them.
The multitudes are following Him, and there’s quite a few, so Jesus needs to take His disciples aside in order to give them a little more personal instruction.
Mark gives us a little more information about this, and he says, “Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them”—apparently Jesus was a faster walker than the disciples, so He’s got a better pace, and they are always struggling to keep up in many different ways—“He’s going before them; and they were amazed.” He’s really striding out.
And then He stops and “takes the twelve aside again and began to tell them the things that would happen to Him.”
Now in Matthew 16, this goes back to these three other events where Jesus has described what is about to happen to Him.
In the first of these events, and I want to look at these others briefly, we’re told in Matthew 16:21 that “from that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”
So this is the first of His warnings. As we look at this, we should also notice that in Matthew 16, what follows it is Jesus then challenges the disciples with this same question that He’s going to phrase another way later on in the next section. When we get down to verses 22 and 23, He’s going to challenge James and John and say, “Are you willing to drink this cup that I’m going to drink?”
And so the point there is, “Are you willing to suffer as I’m going to suffer?” He ties this idea of His suffering to what is going on and that the disciples are going to be a part of this.
For in Matthew 16:24–25, just after this statement, Jesus says to the disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me”—if you want to follow Me—“let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
Now we’ve studied this and saw that “taking up his cross” was an idiom for submitting to authority. So what He’s saying is not about justification or getting into Heaven. It’s about discipleship—are you really willing to submit to the authority of God?
And submitting to the authority of God is humility.
We’re told in Philippians 2:5–11 that Jesus humbled Himself by being obedient even to the point of the Cross. So Jesus constantly is emphasizing here that “to follow Jesus” means that we have to be humble.
That’s the same idea He’s teaching all through this section: that it’s not about our plans and our ambitions or our status. It is about serving the Lord.
So in Matthew 16:25 He says, “Whoever desired to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
The question that’s embedded there is “are you willing to lose your life so that you can have real life?” Not eternal life living forever in Heaven, but living a really good life on earth no matter what the circumstances are? This is what the Bible refers to as the abundant life.
So the first time that Jesus announces what is coming, we learn four things. We learned that He MUST do these four things. The way the grammar in the Greek reads is you have the verb DEI, which means something is necessary, something must take place. Then it’s followed by four infinitives.
So each of these things MUST take place:
- He MUST go to Jerusalem.
- He MUST suffer many things from the religious leaders. He mentions the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes in that passage.
- He MUST be killed.
- He MUST be raised from the dead.
Those are the four necessary things that will transpire when He goes to Jerusalem.
Then in Matthew 17, He adds a little bit. We’re told there, “Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, ‘The Son of Man is about to be betrayed’ ”—notice that He adds this phrase referring to Himself as the Son of Man—“ ‘The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him and the third day He will be raised up.’ And they were exceedingly sorrowful.”
So what we learn in Matthew 17 is that He refers to Himself as the Son of Man, and that He will be betrayed—that’s a new thought. That word is the same word in the Greek, and is used again in the Matthew 20 passage that He will “be delivered to the Gentiles.” It’s the same Greek word, and it means to be betrayed.
So He introduces the idea that He will be betrayed, and then He says He will be raised the third day. And in Matthew 16:22, He also said that He would be raised on the third day. So that’s emphasized there.
Then in Matthew 20, He adds something. He changes from “that He must go up” to “we are going up.” He is now including the disciples in His destiny—this is your destiny, too. WE are going up to Jerusalem, and then the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and scribes, and they’ll condemn Him and deliver Him. So He includes them, that His destiny is their destiny.
Again He uses the term “Son of Man.” This time He just lists the chief priests and the scribes. He doesn’t mention the elders, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. He’s just focusing on those two.
Then He says that they will condemn Him to death [Matthew 20:18]. The word here in the Greek is KATAKRINO, which means that this is a judicial decision. This isn’t a personal condemnation. This is referring to the fact that there will be a formal, legal condemnation of Him by the chief priests and the scribes.
And then He adds another element. He says that He will be delivered, and it’s that same word that’s used for betrayal. He’s betrayed to the Gentiles. So it’s not just the Jewish religious leaders that are responsible, but also the Gentiles. He will be given over to the Gentiles, and, of course, that has to mean the Romans.
So now He introduces how He’s going to die, which is through crucifixion.
Just one comment here. When we look at the New Testament, especially in John (but it’s true to some degree in the Gospels), the word that we often read in the English text is that the Jews did this, the Jews did this, the Jews did this.
Unfortunately, that term “the Jews” was taken by so many people in the early church to condemn all Jews that this became a rationale for anti-Semitism and the persecution of the Jews as Christ killers.
But actually, when we look at the way this term is used in the Greek, it’s the Judeans, JUDEA. It’s the same word. And it would refer not to Jews, as we use that term today as a condemnation of all the Jews, but it would be the Judeans.
It is specifically referring to the Judean religious leaders in Israel. So the idea that this is the Jews, and that’s a blanket condemnation of all the Jews, is not justified by the use of the word and the use in the text.
So He’s going to be delivered over to the Gentiles, and He’s going to suffer. He will be mocked. He will be scourged. And He will be crucified.
Now this introduces another interesting idea that we have to understand as a backdrop to what Jesus is going to say about taking this cup and being baptized with the baptism with which He’s going to be baptized. And that is that in Reformed theology, they have a doctrine about the sufferings of Christ, that there are two categories of Christ’s sufferings. There are passive sufferings and there are active sufferings.
The active sufferings are what happened when He’s on the Cross. And the passive sufferings are whatever Jesus in His humanity suffered living in the devil’s world, whether it’s just the inconvenience of living with a lot of sinners, to the more active sort of suffering where He is mocked and scourged, and those sort of things.
This is one of several areas where I disagree with Reformed Theology.
In Reformed Theology, all of His sufferings are redemptive so that the passive sufferings are also redemptive. But that theology really messes up a lot of your understanding because Jesus goes through physical suffering that is not redemptive. And that’s important for us to understand.
Just hold on to that because that’s the point here. Jesus is going to end up drawing an analogy between the fact that He is suffering, and that if we are willing to follow Him, are we willing to suffer also?
But He can’t be talking about redemptive suffering because we can’t suffer redemptively. So we have to understand those distinctions. That will become more apparent as to why when we get into the next section.
But Jesus is going to be delivered up to the Gentiles to be mocked, to be scourged, and to be crucified. It’s only during those three hours on the Cross, between 12 noon and 3 pm when God the Father imputes to Him the sins of the world, that redemption takes place.
It doesn’t take place at any other time. It finishes at 3 pm when Jesus says, “It is finished.” That’s before He died physically. So the redemptive work of Christ just takes place during those three hours.
But one of the things that I wanted to point out here as we look at this, is this term “Son of Man.”
The “Son of Man” is used in several of these passages, and it’s used again by Jesus in verse 18, “… the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death.”
Then in verse 28, “Just as the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve. And to give His life a ransom for many.” What do we know about the term “Son of Man?”
This is the most common title that is used for Jesus in the Gospels, and it’s the most common title that is used by Matthew. Matthew uses the phrase “Son of Man,” and Jesus is referring to Himself as the Son of Man 29 times in Matthew. It’s used 13 times in Mark, 26 times in Luke, and only 12 times in the Gospel of John.
So it’s the most common title used for Jesus.
Now the second thing we should note is the source of this terminology comes from Daniel 7. In Daniel 7, Daniel sees the vision of these four horrible beings that depict from God’s perspective the beastly characteristics of four great kingdoms that are going to come in chronological succession.
The last kingdom is this horrible beast that can’t really be described. And that is a depiction of the Roman Empire in both its historic form and its revived form.
So the imagery there in Daniel skips over the Church Age, which isn’t mentioned at all in the Old Testament.
And at the end is when we have this event take place, described in Daniel 7:13–14. Daniel says, “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven!”
“Clouds” are often a term that’s used to describe the divine presence. So this indicates that the Son of Man is divine. He’s not just human. Often I will say the term “Son of Man” emphasizes His humanity, but it sometimes means more than that. And here that’s clear from other things in the passage that it’s emphasizing, that He is also divine.
And “He comes to the Ancient of Days.” The “Ancient of Days” is God the Father. He’s coming to the Ancient of Days in order to be given His kingdom; that’s verse 14, “Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom.”
So we see here that the Son of Man is pictured as a figure in the future who is not only human but divine, and who will be given a kingdom. And it’s not until He is given that kingdom that He will have dominion and glory. So He’s not a king now.
This is one of the great points of confusion in a lot of contemporary Christianity—that they think we’re in some form of a kingdom now. But to have a kingdom, you have to have a king. And we don’t have a king right now.
Jesus is like David was in 1 Samuel 16: anointed, but He has not yet been crowned. He doesn’t receive the kingdom until just before He returns to the earth.
He is currently sitting at the right hand of God the Father on His Father’s throne, as Revelation 3:21 says. He is not on His own throne. So that means that Progressive Dispensationalism, Amillennialism, Post-Millennialism, all those guys are completely wrong because they have rejected the literal interpretation of Scripture here.
And when He comes, “all peoples, nations, and languages will serve Him.” So “His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which will not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.”
Jesus is going to say when we get down to verse 28, “the Son of Man did not come to be served.” So that shows that there’s a distinction between His coming at the First Advent and the coming that’s depicted in Daniel 7:14 when all nations will serve Him.
So He came at the First Advent to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.
So the term “Son of Man:”
- Is the most common title used for Jesus.
- The source for “Son of Man” terminology is Daniel 7.
- The term “Son of Man” is a phrase that emphasizes the humanity of Christ, but not to the exclusion of His deity.
What I mean by that is when you have a phrase in Hebrew, because of the idioms, they would say if you have certain characteristics, you’re the son of that, so if you’re foolish, you’re called the “son of a fool.”
Often times though, those idioms are not literally translated in our English translations, so we don’t catch it. They’ll just translate it as a fool. Or if you’re somebody who’s very corrupt and destructive, the Hebrew may read “the son of Belial;” that is, someone who has the characteristics of Belial, they’re demonic or corrupt, or whatever, and that will be translated as they are corrupt. So it doesn’t give you a literal translation of that original idiom.
So someone who is wise is called the “son of the wise;” somebody who’s divine is called the “Son of God,” saying He has the characteristics of God; somebody’s human He’s the “Son of Man.” So that’s what we have in the phrase that emphasizes His humanity, but not to the exclusion of His deity.
On many occasions, Jesus clearly stated and emphasized that He was God. For example, He asked Peter, “Who do men say that I am?” In Matthew 16:16 Peter says, “You are the Christ”—the Messiah. The Hebrew word is Mashiach. The Greek translation of that is CHRISTOS, where we get our word “Christ.”— “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”—emphasizing His deity.
Then Jesus says, well “Blessed are you, Simon, because flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” In other words, you’re right, buddy! You’ve finally got something right.
In another passage, John 8:58, Jesus refers to Himself in the present-tense-verb statement “I AM,” EGO EIMI, when He’s in a confrontation with the Pharisees. And they clearly understand that He is making a claim to deity because they took up stones to stone Him for blasphemy.
In John 10:30 Jesus said, “I and My Father are one.” The word for “one” there is not in the masculine case because then it would be one person. He’s not identifying as a unity with God in that sort of unitarian sense, but They are one thing.
They are both God, and so He uses the neuter there.
Then there are other things that Jesus did to emphasize His deity. For example, He forgave sins. He did other things as well: when He changed the water into wine, when He stilled the storm, when He cast out demons, when He did many other things, when He walked on the water. He is demonstrating that He is God. He controls His creation.
In Matthew 9:6, He heals a paralyzed man, and He does that in order to show that He has the power to forgive sins because when He heals him, He says, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The Pharisees get all upset about the fact that, “How can this man say He forgives sins?” And He says that He healed the man. He says, “Is it easier to tell a man to get up and walk or to say His sins are forgiven?” So He makes the point that He can forgive sins.
So Jesus clearly emphasizes that He is God, and only God can forgive sins, as seen in passages like Isaiah 43:25 and compared to Mark 2:7.
Also the term “Son of Man” was used by Jesus to affirm His deity.
- This is the fourth point. In Matthew 26:63–64, as Jesus is being grilled by the high priest in one of the illegal trials, the high priest answered and said, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!”
“Jesus said to him, ‘It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven”—a direct allusion back to Daniel 7, but clearly He is using the term “Son of Man” here to affirm His deity.
- Then a fifth point is that the term “Son of Man” is also a term that relates to Jesus’ work on the Cross as the Kinsman Redeemer. He is the Son of Man because a human being has to die on the cross for us.
In the Old Testament there are two words that are used that relate to redemption. There’s the Hebrew word Padah, and there’s a Hebrew word Gaal. The Gaal describes the kinsman redeemer.
This is pictured in the book of Ruth. Ruth has to be provided for by Boaz, who is a close kinsman, and is able to Gaal, to redeem, her. This was part of the responsibility of a kinsman.
If someone, for example, got into debt and they had to go into slavery, the kinsman redeemer could purchase them from slavery. The kinsman redeemer had a responsibility to track down a murderer of a near relative to see that justice was done. The kinsman redeemer was responsible to see that justice was served in other legal matters, as well as to see that debts were going to be satisfied. This brings in the picture of the idea of redemption and a redeemer.
So the term “Son of Man” is loaded with all these concepts, and when we get down to the end of this section in verse 28, Jesus is going to unpack that idea—that the Son of Man did not come just to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a redemption for many, not just as a ransom. It’s the idea of a payment of a price.
That’s a décor of the word “redeem.” Whenever we hear anything related to redeem or redemption, redeemer, a price is paid for something, and that “for something” emphasizes substitution.
Here we see that Jesus is talking about what He is paying. He is giving His life, a transaction. An economic transaction takes place on the Cross. Paul refers to it as the cancelling of the debt that was against us. That’s what redemption is. It is a wiping out of that debt. It is forgiveness. It is forgiveness of all sin; Adam’s original sin and all sin in human history. That is the basis for each individual.
But just because the price is paid doesn’t automatically save everybody. The price was paid at the Cross, but each individual has to trust in Christ in order for that price to effectively pay for them. The price is paid at the Cross, but it’s applied only when we each individually trust in Him.
So that salvation is the result of that—when we realize that Christ paid the price. We don’t have to pay it. We can’t pay it. We can’t come up with enough good works to pay it. We can’t buy it or give enough money to purchase it. We can’t go through enough ritual and liturgy to get it.
We can only get it because Christ paid for it, and we accept that payment on our own. That’s one of the many pictures that Scripture uses to help us understand what we have in salvation.
Now next time we’ll come back, and we’ll look at how this sets things up for what happens in this conversation with Salome, and what is going on with His drinking of the cup, this baptism of the cup, and what this describes.
“Father, thank You for this opportunity to study these things, to be reminded of Your grace and to be reminded that Jesus’ death was planned. It had a purpose, a function. As Paul says in Galatians, when the “fullness of time came” that Jesus came, that there was a right time, and You set all of this up and that it was not accidental, but it was a planned provision for our salvation.
Father, we pray that if there’s anyone listening who’s never trusted in Christ as Savior that You’d make the Gospel clear to them, that unlike any other religion, Christianity believes that our salvation is based not on what we do, but on what Christ did, that we could never do enough, that Jesus Christ paid it all, as the Scripture says. He paid the price in full, so that all that is required is that we trust in Him. We’re relying upon His work—not our work—on His death—not ours—and that He and He alone provides for our salvation.
And Father, for the rest of us, what’s embedded in these chapters is a challenge to us not just to be satisfied with being justified and redeemed and being a new creature in Christ, but pressing on to spiritual maturity, being willing to follow Jesus, being willing to take up our cross, being willing to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and not to exalt ourselves. It’s not about our plan, our purpose, our agenda, but it is about Your plan, Your purpose, and Your agenda. And give us the strength and the courage to submit to Your authority and to live our lives for You and not for ourselves. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”