Mark 10:32-34 (NIVUK)
35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. ‘Teacher,’ they said, ‘we want you to do for us whatever we ask.’
36 ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked.
37 They replied, ‘Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.’
38 ‘You don’t know what you are asking,’ Jesus said. ‘Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptised with the baptism I am baptised with?’
39 ‘We can,’ they answered.
Jesus said to them, ‘You will drink the cup I drink and be baptised with the baptism I am baptised with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.’
Not so long ago Jesus asked the same question of Blind Bartimaeus – what do you want me to do for you? Bartimaeus wanted to see, but James and John want to have the seats of honour next to Jesus in his glory. Jesus granted Bartimaeus sight, but James and John he can’t help, these seats are for someone else. But who? I can’t help but think of the two thieves on the Cross, as implied here, often the gospels mean Jesus’ death when they talk about his glory. I suspect this is not what they had in mind…
Bartimaeus saw who Jesus was, James and John perhaps still hadn’t seen him clearly. Spirit, help us to see Christ more clearly.