Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
James and John are a lot like the rest of us. In Mark 10:35-45 they want to have positions of honor in Christ's kingdom. This really shouldn't surprise us. After all, Jesus chose James and John to follow him. They are among his closest inner circle, along with Peter. They have left their former livelihood to follow a Messianic hope. When Jesus takes his throne, they would like him to remember them with positions of authority.
We're that way also. We talk really well about our desire to serve Jesus regardless of whether we receive a reward or not, but we'd like to be in a position of influence. We may say our career aspirations are to be faithful, but we frankly would be disappointed if that faithfulness didn't eventually result in having more authority than the person who just started in the career. We also wouldn't mind having pay raises and hopes of retirement. We want to be rewarded for what we do.
That's perfectly normal. However, Jesus shows a different way. He who would be great must be the servant of all. That's just what Jesus did. He laid down his life in love and service to his neighbor (all of humanity), accepting scorn, shame, pain, and finally death.
I guarantee you, if you work long enough in your career, you'll receive death as wel. You might not have the other issues, but given enough years, the result is death. Our life isn't tied up in the honor we may receive, the authority, the retirement plan, or any of the other things that may come along with our faithful service. It's tied up in Jesus, the Lord who lived and died for us. In fact, we'll probably receive the honor, authority, the pay raise, the bonus now and then if we are faithful with what we are doing. But Jesus is the one who makes it all work for good in this world. So he points us, along with James and John, to his eternity.
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