Main point summary
What started out as a self-centered request by two brothers, asking for the highest honor in Heaven, resulted in the promise of earthly sufferings and a reminder of not only God’s election unto salvation but also unto our standing in Heaven. This conversation resulted in worldly jealousy among Jesus’ followers so he did well to remind them that Christians are not called to seek power and authority on earth for selfish gain and glory, but are to use whatever gifts God has given them to serve others—following His perfect example of being a servant unto death.
c And James and John, d the sons of Zebedee, came up to him
Two brothers, James and John, came up to Jesus
and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us e whatever we ask of you.”
And told him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask you.”
And he said to them, f “What do you want me to do for you?”
Jesus asked them what they wanted him to do for them.
And they said to him, “Grant us g to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, h in your glory.”
They answered that they wanted Jesus to grant them to sit at his right and left hand in Glory.
Jesus said to them, i “You do not know what you are asking.
Jesus told them they don’t understand what they’re asking.
Are you able j to drink the cup that I drink,
He explained by asking them if they are able to suffer the sufferings
or k to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”
He is to suffer?
And they said to him, “We are able.”
They said they are able.
And Jesus said to them, l “The cup that I drink m you will drink,
And Jesus surprisingly confirms that they will indeed suffer
and with the baptism with which I am baptized, n you will be baptized,
Like he is to suffer (James will be killed by sword for his faith and John will be exiled)
but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant,
But though they will suffer this way, Jesus will not grant them to sit at his right and left hand
o but it is for those for whom it has been p prepared.”
Because it is for those whom God has chosen from the foundation of the world.
And when the ten heard it,
When the other 10 disciples heard all of these
they began to be indignant at James and John.
They became furious at James and John.
q And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles r lord it over them,
Knowing this, Jesus called the disciples to him and reminded them of how the people in power among the gentiles use this power for selfish gain,
and their great ones exercise authority over them.
But s it shall not be so among you.
But this is not how followers of Jesus should behave.
But whoever would be great among you
Whoever is great (money, power, influence, status) among Christians
must be your servant, 1
MUST be a servant,
and whoever would be first among you
And whoever desires to be first in the last days,
must be t slave 1 of all.
MUST be a slave, in Jesus’ name, of all.
For even the Son of Man came not to be served
Because even our Lord came not to be served,
but u to serve,
But to serve mere humans,
and v to give his life as a ransom for w many.”
And to die an underserved death, in the place of many.
James and John tell Jesus they want Him to do something for them
They ask him if they can sit at his right and left hand in Glory
Jesus warns them that this question is above them. He asks them if they can suffer the suffering he is to suffer and they say they are willing.
Jesus tells them they will indeed suffer but that he cannot grant who is to sit at his right and left—because this has been prepared from the beginning.
This conversation caused the other disciples to be very angry at James and John
Jesus responded to the disciples anger by telling them them the difference between how the gentiles sinfully use their power and authority vs.
How his followers should behave—as servants and slaves to one another.
Because Jesus himself is that for us.