They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again.” James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:32-45, NRSV)
I am amazed at the disciples, but know that I am going to be in good company when we all finally arrive at the great banquet!
I mean James and John must be really thick skull individuals! Jesus just gets done telling them that when they get to Jerusalem, that He will be handed over and condemned to death and then He will be mocked, spat upon, flogged and killed. And then James and John pull Jesus aside and say, “Do what we want, and here it is, we want to sit with you in glory, one on your right side and one on your left side.”
Did they just miss the conversation? I mean I know I don’t always hear everything, but really!
And Jesus replies, “you don’t know what you’re asking, can you drink the cup I will drink?” Meaning, can you take the death I will. And they will, but to sit on His right and left is not Jesus’ to grant.
Plus who is sitting at Jesus’ left hand in glory? We confess it every week, that He (Jesus) ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. If Jesus is at God’s right hand, then God the Father is at Jesus’ left hand. So James or John wants to take the Father’s seat! Not what I want.
But thanks be to God, that James and John were apostles and disciples, because that gives all of us hope!