By My Side
“And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’ And he said to them, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ And they said to him, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.’”
Mark 10:35-37 (NIV)
Jesus was making his last journey to Jerusalem with the disciples. James and John were already part of the Twelve, especially selected by Jesus. But that wasn’t enough; they wanted to be the top-dogs next to Jesus. The disciples were never shy about their ambition for position in the coming Kingdom of the Messiah and had continued to jostle for power. As all the Jews did, they looked to the time when the Messiah would throw off the yoke of foreign domination and eliminate all Israel’s enemies. Their aim was to be there in power. Matthew’s account of this incident adds that the pair had inveigled their mother into helping out in the power-grab. She went along with it, and knelt before Jesus, requesting the leading positions for her sons when the time came for Jesus to take his power and be the conquering, liberating Messiah of Israel they all expected.
The ten were furious when they heard they had been out-manoeuvred. Jesus had to patiently explain that A: it was not his to give, and B: that they had woefully misunderstood the way of the Kingdom. The way of greatness was one of humble, loving service, not lording it over others. The full extent of that way was to be seen a few days later as Jesus hung on the cross. And as he did so, apart from John who was with Mary, Jesus’ mother, there wasn’t a disciple in sight: they’d fled.
So who were the first to be on his right and left: two criminals, crucified on either side of him, representatives of the fallen people he had come to rescue. They were the ones by his side as through intense suffering Jesus brought about a glorious victory, conquering sin and death and all the opposing powers of the world.
Saviour, may we serve you in grateful humility, wherever you choose to place us.
Study by Hilary Buck
About the Author:
Hilary Buck pastors Grace Communion in Lewes.
Like us on www.facebook.com/GCLewes
Grace Communion – Lewes
The Priory School
Local Congregational Contact: