Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons (James & John) came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. “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.” “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. 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.” When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 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. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—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.”
Imagine your 5th grade class is on a field trip. On the way back, your teacher announces “We’re stopping for Ice Cream!” What happens when the bus stops at the ice cream shop? Absolute mayhem, right?! Everyone is scrambling to be first in line! No one cares that an unknown parent donated money for your ice cream. No one is thinking about how that treat will be paid for. The students just want ice cream!
Jesus’ disciples were kind of like those 5th graders scrambling to be first in line for ice cream. And so are we. We love the idea of going to heaven when we die. That sounds like an awesome treat! But how often do we ponder the price to get in?
A short while before the portion of Scripture you just read, Jesus’ disciples wanted to know what they would receive for giving up everything they had and following him. Listen to Jesus response. “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:28-29)
Wow, what a treat! Jesus promised his disciples that they would have thrones in heaven! No more poverty for these guys! You can imagine how excited they were for Jesus’ Kingdom! The only problem was they had missed the part where Jesus told them that he would have to suffer and die for their sins. (Check out the three verses which precede the request of James’ and John’s mother – Matthew 20:17-19) Jesus’ disciples had lost sight of the high price to get into Jesus’ Kingdom.
God demands perfection to get into his Kingdom. And we’re certainly not perfect. That’s why Jesus came to this earth in the first place. He didn’t come to be served, but to serve! He came to serve our greatest need—the need we all have for forgiveness! Jesus won that forgiveness for all people by giving his perfect life as a ransom. Jesus literally paid for your sin by offering his perfect life as payment! Jesus is YOUR perfect Servant!
Blessings on the rest of your week!