“They were in the way going up to Jerusalem.” The Lord was going with the disciples to Jerusalem to the Passover, for the last time. It was early spring, and after the winter rains the country was bright with flowers. As they journeyed through the towns east of Jordan, the Lord spoke many parables; He blessed the little children. Then they crossed the river and the sunny meadows to the road which led up from Jericho into the hills. As they went, the disciples were filled with hope that the Lord would now use His power to make Himself a great earthly king. The Lord knew that His kingdom was not of this world, that their hopes would be disappointed, and that before many days were past He would be betrayed and crucified, but would rise again with all power in heaven and in earth. The Lord walked on before full of courage to do His Divine work. The disciples “were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid.” Then the Lord told them what He was soon to suffer, even as it had been written by the prophets. But they could not believe it; they could not understand it, their hearts were so full of hopes of an earthly kingdom.
How little they understood is shown by James and John who came with their mother asking for places of honor by His throne. We remember how the Lord called James and John as they sat in the ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. They were among those who loved the Lord best; they were with Him when He raised the little daughter of Jairus; they were with Him in the mountain when He was transfigured, and yet how little they understood about His kingdom! In the Lord’s kingdom one can gain power only by being faithful in trials, and by loving to help others, not thinking how others can serve him. The Lord, who is the King, is the humble servant of all.
And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again. And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared. And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John. But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.—Mark X. 32-45.
Author: William L. Worcester 1904
The Lord let the disciples cling to the idea of an earthly kingdom for a while >> It shows the Lord’s gentleness with all of us, and why He does not correct all errors at once. He does not take an imperfect thought rudely away, but makes it a stepping-stone to a truer one
The right hand >> Those who work in the strength of love to the Lord, the highest of all loves
The left hand >> Those who are wise in kind uses to one another
John and James >> Love the Lord and Love thy neighbor
The cup of the Lord >> His temptations
Baptism >> The purification by temptations
Pictures: James Tissot —-Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum