21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.”
22 But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to Him, “We are able.”
23 He said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.” -Matt. 20:21-23
I really like this exchange. The mother of James and John comes to Jesus and asks that her two sons get to sit on his left and right side. Since Jesus is one day going to rule the world from Jerusalem, these must be pretty good seats (50 yards line good).
Jesus does not say that their kingdom theology is wrong. What he does try to convey to his disciples is that his ministry is not about ruling now. He has a job to do. He has a vocation to live. He has a mission to fulfill. Jesus, being the embodiment of obedient Israel, has to take upon himself the cup of God’s wrath on order to deal with the problem of sin and death.
The discussion of God’s wrath was going on in our Sunday School class this morning. Yet in thinking of this, I connected the passage above with one which I never saw the link before today. Let me know what you think:
37 And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
38 At that time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. -Matt. 27:37-38
Any comments or suggestions? I could be totally off on this, but the connection seems very attractive to me.