20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. 21 “What is it you want?” he asked. She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” 22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered. 23 Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” 24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
I’m trying to imagine this scene without laughing. James and John, the ones Jesus called sons of thunder, wanted to ask Jesus about a position of honour. But they couldn’t ask him themselves so they had their mother ask Jesus.
That didn’t go down to well with the other disciples. The ten were hurt and offended by this, (Message Bible – thoroughly disgusted). Immediately Jesus steps in to settle things down.
But seriously, how often have we been hurt or offended by the words or actions of other believers? It happens. James and John probably didn’t intend to hurt the other disciples, but they did.
But worse is to not deal with it immediately. An offense that is not resolved quickly becomes a deeper hurt that can last year’s. That’s why Jesus steps in immediately.
Jesus offers a solution. Don’t try to get back at them or try to win, instead be a servant to everyone. Follow the model of Jesus who came not to rule over us but to serve us and gave up his rights and life for us. It’s not about seeking honour for ourselves, it is actually just being a servant to all, and in this way giving honour to the only one worthy of honour – Jesus.
Jesus, help me to be more like you, and be more interested in serving than about my getting.
Written by Andrew Martin