By Kees Aitken
As I read this it makes me chuckle and cringe at the same time.
The first thing that came to my mind was “are James and John taking the mickey?” In verse 35 straight off the bat they ask, “Teacher, we want You to grant us whatever we ask.” Do they not know Who they are speaking to?
But Jesus, rather than laughing at them and walking away like most of us would, turns around and asks, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (verse 36).
They ask, at verse 37, “Grant us that when You are there in all Your glory, one of us will sit at Your right, and the other at Your left”!! The cheek of them!
But at verse 38 Jesus replies, “You don’t understand what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I must drink? And can you be baptized with the same kind of baptism that I must go through?” And, at verse 39, they answered, “Yes, we can.”
It seems to me that their ignorance comes off as arrogance. But, ever humble and gracious, Jesus does not put them down or reprimand them. He is gentle in His correction. I love this about Him. What I think James and John didn’t understand is that, while they were referring to a place of Glory after death, Jesus knew what lay ahead and those who would accompany Him to the Cross.
When the ten heard about this they became indignant with James and John. You can’t really blame them but yet again Jesus responds with wisdom and grace, and then teaches them what I think is one of the most important lessons in scripture:
“Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10 vs 42-45).
“So he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him (John 13 vs 4-5).” This is one of the many hundreds of reasons why Jesus is the most amazing King of Kings; any other King would have had slaves, servants, maids, and butlers etc but Jesus came to serve.