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Mark 10:35-45

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 

10:41 Now 5  when the other ten 6  heard this, 7  they became angry with James and John. 10:42 Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions use their authority over them. 10:43 But it is not this way among you. Instead whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, 10:44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave 8  of all. 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom 9  for many.”

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.

5 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.

6 tn Grk “the ten.”

7 tn The word “this” is not in the Greek text, but is supplied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

8 tn Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v. 1). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.

9 sn The Greek word for ransom (λύτρον, lutron) is found here and in Matt 20:28 and refers to the payment of a price in order to purchase the freedom of a slave. The idea of Jesus as the “ransom” is that he paid the price with his own life by standing in humanity’s place as a substitute, enduring the judgment that was deserved for sin.



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