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Matthew 20:20-34 The Communion Cup

Everything Yeshua did was prophetically inspired to fulfill prophecy. Yeshua’s activity, travel patterns, and teachings were directed by YeHoVaH to mislead the enemy, confuse the leaders of the day, and to maneuver individuals to comply with His Process and Will. This was done in order to bring about the desired end goal for sending Yeshua into the world as the sacrificial lamb for the sins of mankind.

In this portion of Matthew, after presenting a teaching to His disciples designed to expose their hearts, the mother of two of the disciples enters into a discussion with Yeshua with a specific request to position her sons in positions of authority in the Kingdom that Yeshua came to establish. 

The mother’s request, seemingly in agreement with the desires of her sons, provoked Yeshua to speak about the requirements of such a request and led to the first discussion of what has evolved into what is now known and practiced as communion.

Mt 20:20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. 


James and John


Mt 4:21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.


She worshipped Yeshua.


Worshipping – 4352 προσκυνέω proskuneo {pros-koo-neh'-o} Meaning:  1) to kiss the hand to (towards) one, in token of reverence 2) among the Orientals, esp. the Persians, to fall upon the knees and touch the ground with the forehead as an expression of profound reverence 3) in the NT by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication Usage:  AV - worship 60; 60

Mt 20:21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. 


The mother asked the question; Yeshua responded to James and John.


Mt 20:22 But Yeshua answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. 

Yeshua spoke of the cup in future tense and the baptism in past tense.  Yeshua had already been baptized.

Yeshua, in this passage, introduces the cup. It is very clear that He is speaking about the cup figuratively and metaphorically.  One could even go as far as to say the cup is prophetically a shadow picture of good things to come because Yeshua is speaking about the cup in the future tense.

Mt 20:23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. 


According to Paul, both the baptism and the cup Yeshua spoke of was in reference to His death.


Ro 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

1Co 11:26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.


Both James and his brother John endured great suffering and death.


Ac 12:1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. 

Ac 12:2 And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 

Ac 12:3 And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) 

Ac 12:4 And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

The request caused indignation from the ten disciples against the two brothers.


Mt 20:24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. 


Indignations – 23 ἀγανακτέω aganakteo {ag-an-ak-teh'-o} 

Meaning:  1) to be indignant, moved with indignation, be very displeased 

Usage:  AV - have indignation 2, be much displeased 2, with indignation 2, be sore displeased 1; 7


Mt 20:25 But Yeshua called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 


Yeshua has the task of taking 12 men and making them one, to have singleness of heart and mind, as He prayed in John Chapter 17 that they may be one.

Yeshua is trying to get these brothers to understand the importance of serving one another, being in fellowship one with one another, and becoming one. He’s stressing the fact that the way they’re thinking is the way the world thinks, and they cannot think solely of themselves or individually, but they must learn to think as a body, as one looking out for the best interest of one another.

Mt 20:26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 

Minister – 1249 διάκονος diakonos {dee-ak'-on-os} Meaning:  1) one who executes the commands of another, esp. of a master, a servant, attendant, minister 1a) the servant of a king 1b) a deacon, one who, by virtue of the office assigned to him by the church, cares for the poor and has charge of and distributes the money collected for their use 1c) a waiter, one who serves food and drink

Usage:  AV - minister 20, servant 8, deacon 3; 31

Mt 20:27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 

Mt 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. 


The word Yeshua used to describe Himself is the word Paul used to describe the deacon.

Deacon – 1247 διακονέω diakoneo {dee-ak-on-eh'-o} Meaning:  1)) to be a servant, attendant, domestic, to serve, wait upon 1a) to minister to one, render ministering offices to 1a1) to be served, ministered unto 1b) to wait at a table and offer food and drink to the guests, 1b1) of women preparing food 1c) to minister i.e. supply food and necessities of life 1c1) to relieve one's necessities (e.g. by collecting alms), to provide take care of, distribute, the things necessary to sustain life

1c2) to take care of the poor and the sick, who administer the office of a deacon 1c3) in Christian churches to serve as deacons 1d) to minister 1d1) to attend to anything, that may serve another's interests 1d2) to minister a thing to one, to serve one or by supplying any thing 

Usage:  AV - minister unto 15, serve 10, minister 7, misc 5; 37

The key verse in this passage is where Yeshua stated that He did not come to be ministered to, but to minister. Those words, and other words that define a deacon, are instituted in Acts Chapter 6 and spoken about in the qualifications given to Timothy by Paul.


You can focus, if you choose to, on a cup of grape juice and a piece of cracker trying to figure out if it’s the body and blood of the Savior as the Catholics would have you believe. 

You can focus, if you choose to, on how often or when you should do communion, whether it be daily, weekly, monthly, or annually during the Passover season.  Or you could focus on the big picture which is a continuous focus on what Yeshua was trying to get His disciples to focus on, and that is dying to self, being servants, and serving one another.

Much of what we have learned and practiced in the church was handed down to us. Those of us who grew up in Christian homes saw communion being practiced in the church with a cup of juice and a piece of cracker and concluded that to be the communion Yeshua spoke of, or should I say the communion He instituted at the Last Supper.

At the Last Supper when He took the cup and gave it to His disciples, He said that the cup contained His blood. He then took bread, and He told the disciples that the bread was His body.  Notice that it is called the “Last Supper”, that actually included a supper meal. 

Because of statements made prior to that concerning the Passover, there have been a variety of interpretations of the Last Supper. One interpretation is that it was the Passover meal. Another interpretation is that it was the Last Supper where “Yeshua” instituted communion. Another interpretation is that it was a continual Jewish practice that dates back to the time of Abraham and Melchizedek. 

If you were raised in a Jewish home, you would’ve learned something called Kiddush where the bread and the wine is part of the Friday night prayer before sunset and opens up the Sabbath or recited before oneg.


So, from a Christian perspective it’s called communion, from a Jewish perspective it’s called Kiddush.


Jews who reject Yeshua as Messiah also do Kiddush.


Is what is being practiced today in churches, synagogues, and Messianic Hebrew Roots assemblies what Yeshua instructed?

All of us should find it interesting seeing that when Yeshua took the bread and the wine, He did so with his disciples. 


How often do we see the disciples serving communion as we know it?  Did they not do communion as we have come to know it?

And yet, we do not hear them teaching about communion as it relates to a cup of wine and crackers.  However, they practiced what they understood that Yeshua taught them. They did not serve or take communion. They communed with one another. They communed, broke bread together, and fellowshipped with each other. 

Ac 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 

Ac 2:43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 

Ac 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 

Ac 2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. 

Ac 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,


Fellowship – 2842 κοινωνία koinonia {koy-nohn-ee'-ah} Meaning:  1) fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intercourse 1a) the share which one has in anything, participation 1b) intercourse, fellowship, intimacy 1c) a gift jointly contributed, a collection, a contribution, as exhibiting an embodiment and proof of fellowship Usage:  AV - fellowship 12, communion 4, communication 1, distribution 1, contribution 1, to communicate 1; 20

At the Last Supper there was an important piece of business Yeshua had to attend to concerning Judas and why he was chosen.  

Yeshua also took the opportunity to demonstrate serving one another by serving them: He poured the wine, He broke the bread, and He washed  their feet.

A Cup of Salvation, Suffering, and Death

In the garden of Gethsemane 

 Mt 26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 

Mt 26:39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

When Paul, who was not at the Last Supper, speaks about communion, the image of how communion has been practiced in our church is inserted into his instructions and therefore people teach that Paul taught what the Catholics instituted.  However, if you look closely at the context, it’s about who they were breaking bread with, getting drunk, not in proper fellowship with one another, and failing to discern the body of Messiah.

Paul’s questions are, “Is this what you call Communion? Is this what you call fellowship? Is this what you call breaking bread together and being one?”


I know these concepts that I’m sharing with you go against the way you’ve been trained to think, but if you take all that out and lay it aside, look at Scripture, look at what Yeshua wrote, look at what the disciples did, look at the context Paul wrote with and wrote in, you’ll see and understand what I’m communicating with you.

Mt 20:29 And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. 

Mt 20:30 And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Yeshua passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. 

By calling Yeshua “Son of David”, they recognized Him as a royal descendant of King David.


Mt 20:31 And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. 

Mt 20:32 And Yeshua stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you? 


Yeshua acknowledged Himself to be the Son of David.


Mt 20:33 They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. 

Mt 20:34 So Yeshua had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.

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