Jesus Again Tells about
(Mark 10.32-34; Luke 18.31-34)
17As Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, he took his twelve disciples aside and told them in private:
18We are now on our way to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses. They will sentence him to death, 19and then they will hand him over to foreigners who will make fun of him. They will beat him and nail him to a cross. But on the third day he will rise from death.
A Mother's Request
20The mother of James and John came to Jesus with her two sons. She knelt down and started begging him to do something for her. 21Jesus asked her what she wanted, and she said, “When you come into your kingdom, please let one of my sons sit at your right side and the other at your left.”
22Jesus answered, “Not one of you knows what you are asking. Are you able to drink from the cup that I must soon drink from?”
James and John said, “Yes, we are!”
23Jesus replied, “You certainly will drink from my cup! But it isn't for me to say who will sit at my right side and at my left. This is for my Father to say.”
24When the ten other disciples heard this, they were angry with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called the disciples together and said:
You know foreign rulers like to order their people around. And their great leaders have full power over everyone they rule. 26 But don't act like them. If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others. 27And if you want to be first, you must be the slave of the rest. 28The Son of Man did not come to be a slave master, but a slave who will give his life to rescue many people.
When I am teaching my students I sometimes will ask them to predict what might happen next in a story. Young minds come up with some wonderfully imaginative scenarios. Predicting what might happen next keeps them attuned and attentive.
Jesus predicted his own death as he relayed the details of what would transpire. He loved his disciples to the point of wanting to spare them the agony of surprise. He needed them to know what was about to happen to him. He desired for them to be attuned and attentive to the sad reality of the cross but he also wanted them to wait with joyful expectation for when he would rise again from the dead.
Although the disciples had heard Jesus talk about how he would die, there was no indication of their reaction. It seemed they were more interested in the accolades and sons to have a place of honour seated on either side of him in the kingdom.
Jesus spoke sternly yet kindly about the cup of suffering and wondered if they were prepared to face what he was about to face. Both brothers said they would drink from the cup but Jesus assured them that although this would be, he still was not the one to decide who would be seated next to him.
The other disciples were angry when they learned what John and James had requested. Were they irritated that they did not think to ask first? Jesus defused the dissension and explained to his disciples that whoever wanted to be first had to be willing to take the lowest position of all and become not as a slave master, but as a willing slave.
Heavenly Father, You are privy to everything that has happened and what the future holds. Help me to be to be humble in manner and undemanding. I know that you want the best for me and I look forward to eternal blessings. Praying fervently in the name of Jesus, Amen.