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Mark 10:35-40

Context
The Request of James and John

10:35 Then 1  James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him and said, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” 10:36 He said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 10:37 They said to him, “Permit one of us to sit at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.” 10:38 But Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I experience?” 2  10:39 They said to him, “We are able.” 3  Then Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink, and you will be baptized with the baptism I experience, 10:40 but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give. It is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 4 

1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

2 tn Grk “baptism I am baptized with.” This same change has been made in v. 39.

3 sn No more naïve words have ever been spoken as those found here coming from James and John, “We are able.” They said it with such confidence and ease, yet they had little clue as to what they were affirming. In the next sentence Jesus confirms that they will indeed suffer for his name.

4 sn After the first passion prediction in 8:31 Jesus rebuked Peter as having been used by Satan. After the second passion prediction in 9:31 the disciples were concerned about who would be the greatest in the kingdom. After the third passion prediction in 10:33 James and John asked for positions of honor and rulership in the kingdom, revealing their complete misunderstanding of the nature of the kingdom and exposing their inadequacy as true disciples of Jesus. Jesus replied that such positions were for those for whom it has been prepared.



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