Matthew 20:20-28—— Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” But Jesus answered and said, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said to Him, “We are able.” So He said to them, “You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”
And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?”
Jesus is again dealing with the problem of self exultation among the disciples. He is approached by the mother of James and John who is seeking a place of honour in the up-and-coming kingdom for each of her sons. James and John hope to cement their position within the “worldly” kingdom that they envisioned was about to be created.
“We are able!” they replied to Him. We’ll do whatever it takes. We’ll pay whatever the cost to gain this prize that is being given. They want the reward so much and they are willing to do whatever it takes to get it, except to realize that they can’t do anything to earn it. This doesn’t even make sense to them…but it will.
James and John both believed that Jesus was the Son of God, the promised Messiah, the problem was that they completely misunderstood what His Kingdom was really going to be. They saw glory and riches and power and honour on this earth. Jesus knew that this was their misguided understanding. He had the Father to help Him with saying the right things and doing to right things that would bring the disciples around the “everlasting” way.
Why didn’t He just come out and say, “Look you fools. How many times do I have to say this? You got it all wrong. I’m not here to defeat the Romans and create a glorified Jewish nation; I’m here to defeat the real problem, sin and Satan. And the only way to defeat pride and sin is to do the opposite, show love and humbleness.”
The loving and wise heart of Jesus has amazing wisdom in teaching the truth with enduring patience and love. What must we do to be saved? How do we become first by becoming last? Through SLAVERY.
In God’s Kingdom we must come to a point where we “want” to be slaves. Jesus said it, “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave”