This passage shows us that the disciples had misunderstood both the preceding passion predictions and Jesus' teaching concerning the kingdom's nature. Hearing Jesus' promise of a special place for the Twelve (19:28), James and John wanted to establish a special place among the Twelve. While each of us is special to the Lord, we must not fail to recognize, as the sons of Zebedee did, that all other disciples are special to him as well. To accomplish their petition they enlisted their mother; Jewish tradition accorded aged women a special place of respect that younger women did not hold (compare Judg 5:7; 2 Sam 14:2; 20:16-22; Tit 2:4). Further, women could get away with asking requests men dare not ask, both in Jewish (Lk 18:2-5; 2 Sam 14:1-21; 20:16-22; 1 Kings 1:11-16; 2:17; Bailey 1980:134) and broader Greco-Roman culture (Dixon 1988:179).
To the disciples, recognizing that Jesus was Messiah and would soon reign was an expression of faith (16:17); unfortunately, they failed to grasp the seriousness of the sacrifice that constituted the prerequisite for his kingdom (16:21-27). Outsiders recognized Jesus' Davidic rule in truth (15:22; 20:30-31), but here James and John function more like the crowds that recognize Jesus' Davidic role when it is popular (21:9). Those crowds never became disciples who submitted to Jesus' rule; they preferred a revolutionary (27:17-25).
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
You've successfully created your account! For the best Bible Gateway experience, consider an upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus. For less than the cost of a latte each month, you'll get reduced banner ads and a huge digital Bible study library. Try it free for 30 days!