Daily Reading and Devotional from the Gospels
32 And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, 33 Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: 34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.
35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. 36 And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? 37 They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. 38 But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? 39 And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: 40 But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared. 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John. 42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
I always thought it was strange that the disciples were so shocked that Sunday when they discovered the empty tomb. Have you noticed how often he had told them that he would die and rise again? A bunch! We see from our reading today that they just weren’t listening. They had other things on their minds during his gospel teaching. What was on their minds? I can sum it up with five words.
“Yea, but what about me?”
As Jesus quickly approached the cross he spoke more often to his disciples about it. In today’s reading he speaks to them of the suffering, death and resurrection that he is about to endure. Jesus is baring his soul to his disciples about all he must do to save their souls. That is when James and John in essence, ask this question,
“Yea, but what about me?”
They interrupted his talk about suffering to discuss seating arrangements in the kingdom. What they actually said was, “Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.”
Do you think the Lord rolled his eyes at their insensitivity? I do. They were asking for prominent positions, places of honor in his kingdom. Matthew tells us that James and John were not alone, they brought their momma with them. She was the sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus. I guess they assumed that since she was his aunt then she could negotiate some really good nepotism on their behalf. The problem is Jesus’ kingdom doesn’t work that way. Earthly kinships don’t buy you anything in his kingdom. The key to greatness in his kingdom is humility, as he was demonstrating and discussing before being interrupted.
He is talking about suffering, they are thinking about seating.
His focus was on the cross, theirs on their own crowns.
He was concerned for others, they were concerned about themselves.
Can you believe that they would interrupt the Savior speaking about his sacrifice in order to ask such selfish questions?
Yea, but what about me?
Are we any different that James and John? Could we be interrupting the mission of our Lord in seeking and saving the lost? Is our focus on him and his cross? Are we like them, competing with each other rather than continuing his gospel mission? Are we building his kingdom or constantly concerned about our own?
Today, as we take the focus away from the message of the cross, as we argue among ourselves and daily misplace our priorities I think I hear our Lord saying to us,
“what about me?”