17As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside privately and told them what was going to happen to him.18“Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die.19Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”
20Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor.21“What is your request?” he asked.
She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”
22But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?”
“Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!”
23Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.”
24When the ten other disciples heard what James and John had asked, they were indignant.25But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.26But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,27and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.28For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
I’ve probably taken way too much but these events all work together so well.
First, Jesus tells his disciples he is going to die a terrible death. They all knew how cruel the Romans could be. The Romans made a point of making examples of it so people would fear them. He tries to tell them how important this is by starting out with the command to “Listen”. It almost sound