Without the Cross There Is No Crown

John Koedyker

Read: Mark 10:35-40

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” (v. 35)

What a bold statement indeed! “We want you to do for us whatever we ask.” It sounds rather demanding to me. And it makes me wonder if such a request is appropriate for a disciple of Christ. Matthew may have thought the same thing, because in his Gospel this request is made, not by James and John, but by their doting mother (see Matt. 20:20-21).

The actual request, or shall we say demand, was that they be appointed to prominent positions—one on the right hand and one on the left hand of Jesus—in his coming kingdom.

The request the sons of Zebedee make here is an age-old one, common to the human race. We see it in our world today in just about all spheres of life: in business, in politics, and even in the church. In essence, the request reveals the desire for power.

Ironically, this flies in the face of everything Jesus taught. As we will see in tomorrow’s reading, Jesus testifies that “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45). Besides that, Jesus points out that anyone who follows him must expect the same kind of treatment that he received. In other words, there is no crown without the cross. —John Koedyker

As you pray, commit yourself to being God’s humble servant, ready to withstand whatever challenges may come your way.