What is it that you want from me?
When the Apostles James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to ask for a special favour from Our Lord, He told them to make their request openly, saying to them, “What is it that you want from me?”
They replied that they wanted to sit closest to Our Lord when He would at last come into His kingly glory, so that they could have the places of greatest honour, and outrank the other ten apostles.
Our Lord’s answer must have puzzled them, for He did not immediately either accept or refuse their request. Instead, He did something that He often did with those who approached Him with a question—He put another back to them: “Can you drink the cup that I must drink, and be baptised with the baptism with which I must be baptised?”
Although they cannot have understood what He meant, they nevertheless said that they could do so. Then Our Lord answered them by telling them that they would indeed drink that cup and receive that baptism, but even so, He still could not promise them what they asked. They must have felt cheated—having professed their readiness to accept whatever was necessary, they were now told they probably wouldn’t get the prize they craved! Yet worse was to follow.
The other ten found out what they had asked for and were, unsurprisingly, furious with the two upstarts! Our Lord used the occasion to teach all of them, both James and John and the ten others, the real meaning of His words: that a life of service and self-sacrifice awaited anyone who really wanted to follow Him, and, also very significantly, a share in the Cross. All true disciples must accept that Cup and that Baptism if they are to share in His glory. ~ Fr. Paul Dobson