Mt. 20:20-28 – The Path to Heart Health: Serving

Summary: Our old heart was focused on having power over others. But Jesus laid down all his power and gave his life to save us. As we rest in Jesus’ humility and love, he sets us free to serve others with self-less love.

Big Idea: We exercise the new heart that God has given us through serving others.

Ice-breaker question: Describe a time when someone served you in a way that you did not expect.

Read: Matthew 20:20-28

Background: Jesus and his disciples are travelling from the area around the Sea of Galilee to Jerusalem. They are east of the Jordan River and probably around Jericho. The sons of Zebedee are James and John who are, along with Peter, Jesus’ closest disciples. James and John may have been cousins of Jesus if their mother Salome was, as some say, the sister of Jesus’ mother Mary.

Observation (What does the passage say?)

1.What did the mother of James and John ask of Jesus?

2. What was Jesus response?

When the other ten disciples found out about the request, they were indignant with James and John. Jesus responded by calling them altogether and telling them what they should and should not do.

3. What did Jesus tell his disciples they should not do?

4. What did Jesus tell his disciples they should do?

Interpretation (What does the passage mean?)

5. Give some possible reasons why the mother of James and John made the request that she did?

6. Why is it a problem for a follower of Jesus to want to have power over others?

7. How did Jesus serve us?

8. As followers of Jesus, what is our motivation for serving others?

(If you have time, read Acts 12:2 to see what happened to James. Also, you can read Matthew 27:37-38 to see who was on Jesus’ right and left when he was publicly declared to be the King of the Jews.)

Application (What does the passage mean to me personally?)

9. What is one area of your life where you need to give up power or the desire to control?

10. Describe how you are or will be intentionally serving others.


This Bible Study focuses on the same passage as the sermon on Feb 11/18 from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC.

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