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Lenten Journey of Release & Renewal (Day Twenty-Six)

Day Twenty-Six

Scripture: Mark 10:35-45

35 James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, ‘Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.’ 36 And he said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ 37 And they said to him, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.’ 38 But Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ 39 They replied, ‘We are able.’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.’

41 When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. 42 So Jesus called them and said to them, ‘You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 43 But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’


It seems that James and John, the Sons of Zebedee, were very ambitious disciples. They began their journey as Galilean fishermen. Jesus called them to be “fishers of men” alongside Simon and Andrew. They earned the nickname “Boanerges” or “Sons of Thunder” due to their aggressive personalities. When a Samaritan village rejected them, they asked Jesus, “Do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” (Luke 9:51-56).

These hotheaded thunder-boys had no idea what they were asking when they requested, ‘Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.’ Perhaps they imagined their rabbi would overthrow Herod's throne and dismantle the Roman Empire to claim the most glorious seat in the world. They sought assurance of occupying the most significant positions, above their fellow disciples. What a tale of success it would be: the sons of Zebedee starting from the bottom to stand the right and left hand of the new king!

However, five chapters later, Mark tells us that when they affixed the sign reading ‘King of the Jews’ atop the cross during Jesus's crucifixion, in that most vulnerable yet glorious moment, James and John were not there on the right and left side of Jesus (Mark 15:27-27). Instead, they fled along with the other disciples.

May we drink the cup that Jesus drinks, and be baptized with the baptism that he is baptized with. May we find the courage to stand alongside him at his right and left hand, as the Son of Man gives his life for many.


  1. What does that mean to be a “servant” and “slave” for others for you?

  2. In what way(s) can you serve others today?

Prayer / Reflection:

Song of Reflection: Above All

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