Over the last two posts we have been talking about the story in Mark 10 when two of Jesus’ disciples, James and John, come to Him with their mother asking if He would guarantee that they could have the two greatest positions of honor at the time in which He would establish His kingdom.
Jesus’ response shows the major ignorance in their request. He tells them in verse 38 that they did not realize what they were really asking for. Their request was a request of pure ignorance.
I wonder how many times God has said those same words in response to some of my prayers over the years. I wonder how many times I have ignorantly asked God for something, and if it were possible to hear the audible voice of God, I would have heard God say in response, “You have no idea what you are really asking for, do you?”
Jesus tries to enlighten them by asking them if they could drink from the cup that He would drink from or be baptized with the baptism that He would be baptized with? These terms are speaking of His coming suffering. That’s what James and John did not understand. They did not realize that to share in Jesus’ glory you first had to also share in His suffering.
The question is rhetorical in nature. “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” The obvious answer is a resounding, “NO!” That’s why I chuckle out loud every time I read this text because the response of the Sons of Thunder (the nickname of these brothers) was a rather flippant, “Yep! We are able!” They obviously did not understand what Jesus was saying.
Jesus then drives His point home in no uncertain terms. He predicts that James and John would drink of that same cup. They would suffer for Christ. And that is indeed what happened. John faced years of persecution and exile even into his elderly years. And James? He became the first of the apostles to die for Jesus when he was beheaded at the order of Herod. I wonder if Jesus’ words went thorough James’ head right before the sword did?
I wonder how many times I flippantly respond to God out of ignorance. Ignorance is not always bliss.
We will continue with this story from Mark 10 tomorrow.