(Mark 10:35-45 ESV)
What would you say to this?
I read the disciples words, knowing what Jesus went through, and I want to smile at their eager naivety. They don't really know what Jesus will go through but they are so eager for a high position that they promise they can manage it.
Did you notice though, that Jesus didn't smile at them? He just said (in essence), "You know what guys, you will be baptized as I will be baptized and the cup that I drink you will drink as well, but I can't grant your request. It's not my request to fulfill.. it is for those for whom it has been prepared."
He didn't mock them.
He didn't put them down.
He just said "I can't do what you ask".
The other disciples on the other hand....began to be indignant at James and John. I have to wonder if they were angry because they didn't think of asking Jesus first, or if they didn't want James and John to be in charge, or if they wanted to be in charge themselves. We can't know it.
What we do know is that Jesus put a stop to it, calling them together and telling them: “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus, in essence, told them that how things work in the physical world is NOT how things work within the body of believers. Within the church, the leadership life is a life of service. It's a life that calls one to give of themselves for others. Just as Jesus came to give his life as a ransom, so we must live our lives as a life of service to others.