Matthew 20:16-20

Mat 20:16 (KJB)
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Jesus finishes the parable with the principle of equality and He would be speaking of salvation and the Kingdom of God. All those who are chosen for salvation will be equal because it is God who gives the works that a Christian is to do and He seeks faithfulness in those works and not public notice or some set of rewards which places one task above another. (Luke 17:10 KJV) So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. We must never view ourselves as indispensable because every one of us can be replaced in the ministries we are now doing. Instead we should continue to strive for faithfulness in what we are doing. Jesus states that those who became saved late in life such as the thief on the cross will have the same privileges and glory in Heaven as those who became saved when they were younger and have borne a lifetime of ministry with all its opposition. (Luke 18:30 KJV) Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.

Then Jesus states that many are called but few are chosen. Here He turns to the subject of salvation where the call of the gospel goes out to the world but only those who are the Elect of God will be qualified by God to hear and understand the Gospel. This is why at evangelism crusades when the call is given that only a very small percentage respond and even out of that a smaller percentage may really become saved. Many make an emotional response to the gospel but fall away in the course of time when the novelty wears off. This is what the parable of the soils were about in Matthew 13.

Mat 20:17 (KJB)
And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them,

Jesus then began His journey to Jerusalem and now He takes His disciples with Him and once again to speak to them about the events which were to unfold at Jerusalem. (Mark 10:32 KJV) And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, Mark states that at this time the disciples were living in a sense of fear because they knew that things were about to happen but did not know what nor how things were going to unfold.

Mat 20:18 (KJB)
Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,

Then Jesus plainly tells them what is about to happen to Him when He gets to Jerusalem. He states that He will be betrayed unto the scribes and chief priests. These would be the Sanhedrin which would hear the testimony of Jesus and then condemn Him to death. They had the authority to condemn a person to death but did not have the authority to carry out the sentence because they were under Roman authority and no one could be put to death legally except it be by the Romans in collusion with the Sanhedrin.

Mat 20:19 (KJB)
And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.

Then once Jesus faces the ire of the Sanhedrin, they will find Him guilty of trumped up charges and then He will be handed over to the Romans. They will mock Him. (Mat 27:31 KJV) And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. Then they will scourge Him which was done to every condemned Roman prisoner. The scourging was so virulent that many prisoners died under the scourging alone. (Mat 27:26 KJV) Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Then at the end of His statement, He gives a great ray of hope and that He will rise from the dead on the third day which would be Sunday. Jesus had spoken about this before but the disciples still did not comprehend what was being spoken about.

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

This mother had realized that since they were on their way to Jerusalem that the Kingdom of God must be at hand. So she approaches Jesus and brings to Him a desire that she has for her two sons. The woman may have been Salome who was a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. She had her priorities in order because she first worshipped Jesus and then made her request of Him. She was the mother of James and John. The fact that a request was being made like this on the heels of the revelation that Jesus just made shows that the events in Jerusalem were still somehow a mystery to the disciples and they did not understand. They may have thought that the Kingdom was soon going to be established and Salome wasted no time in speaking up for her sons.