But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. ~Matthew 20:22
The Navy SEALs is one of several elite, specialized, tactical military groups that go through very intense and rigorous training for high-risk covert missions. In order to be selected to serve as a SEAL, a candidate must go through a serious and intense vetting process. Only a small handful out of a large class make it to the end. Every candidate starts out highly confident that “he has what it takes” to be a SEAL. Those who make it are humbled that they passed every rigorous test. Those who don’t make it accept reality that they were not as able as they thought. Jesus put James and John to the test when He asked them, “Are ye able?”
We see a request.
“And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.” Salome, the mother of James and John, came with a very ambitious request that James and John be given the privilege of sitting on Jesus’ left and right hand in His kingdom. She and her sons believed that they should be given this privilege based on their rank, relationship, reliability, and reputation (they were nicknamed the sons of thunder). They were part of a thriving family fishing business. It was natural for them to possess a confident ambition for priority in the kingdom. They were saying to Jesus, “We have what it takes to sit on both sides of You in Your kingdom.”
We see the requirement.
Jesus had just frankly reminded the twelve that He would suffer, die, and rise again from the dead. After the request is made, Jesus asked them if they thought that they were able to drink of the cup and to be baptized with the baptism He would be baptized with. Without hesitation they said, “We are able.” Jesus used the cup and baptism as symbols of the depth of suffering, shame, and contradiction of sinners that He would go through. The extreme of the suffering that Jesus would go through was intense and beyond human comprehension. However, He told them that they, too, would go through suffering and hardship. He further told them that the privilege of sitting next to Him was the Father’s gift for whom it was prepared.
We see the resentment.
“And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.” The other disciples were very upset that the two brothers asked for this special privilege. It only revealed that all the men coveted the same status. Many of us want the reward without the risk. We want the acknowledgement without the affliction. We want a crown without the cross. All the men had an incorrect and sinful idea of what it means to serve.
We see the responsibility.
“But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister.” Jesus laid down a biblical definition for leadership and success. Greatness is determined by being a servant to all. It is not lording over people but leading by example. It is giving your all and your best, just as Jesus came to minister and to give His life a ransom (sacrificial payment for sin) for many. If you have what it takes, be willing to carry your cross and follow Jesus. If you have what it takes, give yourself to serving others selflessly and sacrificially. If you have what it takes, be willing to be spent and poured out for the work of the ministry. It is not seeking your reward but seeking to be responsible. You only have what it takes when you are ready to give your all.
Have a servant’s God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Jeremiah 10-13