James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, “Master, we want you to grant us what we are going to ask of you.” And he said, “What do you want me to do for you?” They answered, “Grant us to sit one at your right and one at your left when you come in your glory.”
But Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized in the way I am baptized?” They answered, “We can.” And Jesus told them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and you will be baptized in the way I am baptized. But to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to grant. It has been prepared for others.”
On hearing this, the other ten were angry with James and John; Jesus then called them to him and said, “As you know, the so-called rulers of the nations act as tyrants and those in authority oppress the people. But it shall not be so among you; whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you shall make himself slave of all. Think of the Son of Man who has not come to be served but to serve and to give his life to redeem many.”
READ: The disciples quarreled among themselves when two of them, James and John asked the Lord for the privilege of sitting at His left and at His right when He comes in glory. Jesus had to remind them again what true greatness means, that is, the capacity to serve others just as He did, and not be served.
REFLECT: Even those closest to Jesus who heard Him preach and saw how He lived were not immune to flawed desires of the heart. They desired power, authority and recognition. These were the very things that Jesus had to wrestle with when He went to the desert for forty days. These hidden desires of their hearts come into the open when James and John were bold enough to articulate their ambition. It would have led to the breakup of the group. But Jesus showed His authority over the Twelve by teaching them the proper perspective of power and authority. It ought to be for service. It was enough to calm the hearts and minds of His disciples. They had seen Jesus practicing what He taught them. His authority was (and is) derived from His being. That is why it is so effective.
RESPOND: I may need to recall the many times when I was given the chance to lead and how it turned out in order for me to have a picture of who I am in front of power and authority. Knowing my personal style of leadership, I can slowly orient it to the gospel-based idea of leading.
PRAY: Lord, may I handle power well. May it not corrupt or deform me. May it transform me so that I may see that it is a privilege extended to those who are worthy. And when power bests me in the war of wills, help me Lord to gain the upper hand. May I be in the end, a worthy vessel of Your power. Amen.
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