35 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.” 36 And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38 Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them,“The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,[d] 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave[e] of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
It is incredible that James and John would have the audacity to ask Jesus to let them share in His glory. Asking this question showed how far the thoughts of men are from the thoughts of God. Jesus had left His glory in heaven in order to suffer and die so that mankind could be saved. After spending nearly 3 years walking and learning with Jesus, they had learned much, but still were prone to carnal thoughts. James and John wanted to make sure they got their fair share of the power and glory when Jesus’ kingdom came to fruition. This was not their finest moment.
Jesus then went on to show not just the error in their thoughts, but the error in their way of thinking. The Kingdom of God is not about people lording over other people, but about all of those who love God being servants of the only One worthy to receive glory and honor and power.
The way of Jesus is to give your life away for something infinitely greater than yourself. Jesus stated that the greatest duty of mankind is to love God with all of your heart and soul and mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. Those who call themselves artists speak and sing about “love” ad nauseam, while spending $20,000 a month on flowers and throwing $1,000,000 birthday parties for their children. Money is the god of most people because it represents power. The problem is that an infinitesimal number of the world’s population has the wisdom and genuine compassion needed to use wealth and power in a way that honors God.