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21 He said to her, “What is it that you want?”

She answered, “Make the decree[a] that these, my sons, will rule with you in your kingdom—one sitting on your right hand, one on your left.”

22 Jesus replied, “You don’t know what you are asking.” Then, looking in the eyes of Jacob and John, Jesus said, “Are you prepared to drink from the cup of suffering that I am about to drink? And are you able to endure the baptism into death that I am about to endure?”[b]

They answered him, “Yes, we are able.”[c]

23 “You will indeed drink the cup of my suffering and be immersed into my death,”[d] Jesus told them. “But to be the ones who sit at the place of highest honor is not mine to decide. My Father is the one who chooses them and prepares them.”

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  1. Matthew 20:21 Or “Give the order.”
  2. Matthew 20:22 Or “Are you able to drink from the cup I am about to drink?”
  3. Matthew 20:22 The naïveté of Jacob (James) and John is glaring. Their ambition is emphasized by having their mother come to ask this favor. This event is included immediately after Jesus prophesied for the third time his coming crucifixion. Their hearts were set on their own advancement rather than intercession for their Master.
  4. Matthew 20:23 As translated from the Aramaic and the Hebrew Matthew.