James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, will you do us a favor?” Jesus asked them what they wanted, and they answered, “When you come into your glory, please let one of us sit at your right side and the other at your left.” – Mark 10:35-37 (CEV)
The first time I read this passage, I eagerly read on to see what Jesus’ response would be. I was “eager” until I got to His answer which involved not volunteering for further glorious fun with Jesus but with being willing to pay the same suffering price!
My military friends have told me that they learned quickly in their military service that volunteering was usually not the “opportunity to excel” that they thought it would be! And those of us who serve in God’s Army learned quickly to never volunteer for a “Job” job!
Placing ourselves in the lives of people in the Bible can be a really helpful learning experience. It can give us hands on, insightful knowledge that is a great learning tool! But we are reluctant to learn from all the people!
Moses – God will send you on a difficult mission outside your comfort zone, no matter how much you argue. And the army you lead will be really big on complaining!
Job – You have a great life – and then you don’t. You have friends – but they are definitely less than helpful. You testify to what you know about God – then He tells you to shut up and listen because you don’t know as much as you think!
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Amos and the rest – You are called by God to be His prophet! How totally cool is that?! Not. Unless you enjoy telling people what they don’t want to hear and being rediculed and outcast.
Peter, John, Mary Magdalene, Paul and Jesus’ 1st Century Crew – You get to hear God’s voice. You meet some awesome people like Timothy and Priscilla, and watch them and hundreds of others grow in their relationship with the risen Jesus. And periodically you are imprisioned, beaten and finally killed off in various horrific, creative ways because you believe in God and are being a servant, not a lord!
Jesus told them, “You don’t really know what you’re asking! Are you able to drink from the cup that I must soon drink from or be baptized as I must be baptized?”
“Yes, we are!” James and John answered.
Then Jesus replied, “You certainly will drink from the cup from which I must drink. And you will be baptized just as I must! But it isn’t for me to say who will sit at my right side and at my left. That is for God to decide.”
When the ten other disciples heard this, they were angry with James and John. But Jesus called the disciples together and said:
“You know that those foreigners who call themselves kings like to order their people around. And their great leaders have full power over the people they rule. But don’t act like them. If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others. And if you want to be first, you must be everyone’s slave. The Son of Man did not come to be a slave master, but a slave who will give his life to rescue many people. – Mark 10:38-45 (CEV)
Opportunity to Excel in God’s Army: Volunteer to be a servant who will go wherever your LORD, the Commander-in-Chief tells you to go and do whatever He tells you to do. Benefits are few but the Retirement Plan is Guaranteed to be Out of This World! Sign Up NOW!