Mark 10:3545 offers several reasons why we should be servants in our community, in our work environment, and in the neighborhood in which God has placed us. Jesus said that he did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many. But what took place before Jesus said those words? Why did Jesus break into a seemingly impromptu speech on servanthood?
A few verses before, in Mark 10:3234, the disciples and Jesus are walking to Jesus' neighborhood in Jerusalem. He's explaining what is going to happen to him there: I've got some news for you. The religious leaders are going to arrest me; they're going to mock me; they're going to spit upon me; they're going to kill me. Three days later I'm going to come back from the dead.
This is the opposite of a smooth segue. Jesus tells them he is going to be put to death.
In verse 35, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, ask Jesus to let them have whatever they ask for. Just like a little kid says, "Hey, Mom! Just say yes, just say yes," these disciples asked for permission ahead of time. "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory."
Talk about being presumptuous. James and John felt they deserved seats of honor. I'm so glad none of us ever worry about things like that. We never worry about the corner office. We never ask to be first. We never want our favorite choice for dinner. Actually, we're just like these two guys. Jesus looks back at them and says: You guys don't know what you're asking. Do you drink the cup that I drink?
Anytime you see the word "cup" in the New Testament, it is always a picture of life or death. Nevertheless, James and John say: ...
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