James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, went to Jesus, and said, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
first get a vague agreement
then let your punch go
once you asked us
to follow where you lead
now we ask you
to follow where we lead
partnership is a big deal
and is to go both ways
we’ve agreed to partner with you
now we need your agreement with us
if you’re going to work through us
we need a little something from you
so what do you say anyway
do we have a deal or not
After each of the major announcements of suffering, death, and resurrection there is a response from someone that reveals they have jumped to resurrection without ever having to deal with its reality of only arriving after suffering and death.
After 8:31, Peter rebukes Jesus for even mentioning suffering. After 9:31, the Twelve were caught arguing about which of them was the greatest (would be least likely to have to suffer). Now, after 10:33, James and John claim a privileged place (jumping from this moment to eternal life).
Children always attempt this same gambit of getting a pre-agreement for something they want. This ploy is as old as the hills. It should be able to be seen through as the “looking for something for nothing” that it is.
There is also an on-going blood family issue happening here. Peter, James, and John are obviously the three with the closest ties with Jesus. They all had ring-side seats at the healing of Jairus’ daughter and the appearance of Moses and Elijah. If there were going to be two honored after this successful journey to rule from heaven, two to sit at Jesus’ right and left, how could either James and John be left out. Far better to be proactive this side of heaven and cut Peter out now.
These family issues seem not to go away. Remember back to 2:31-35 when Jesus’ mother and siblings came asking for him, and the redefinition of family he gave. The focus given then on what it means to be partnered with G*D comes back here with a question: Will there be any top place in a new heaven? Not even for Jesus?