Last week we noted that Jesus for a third time clarified the nature of His calling as the Son of Man. His calling was to be delivered into the hands of men, to suffer and be condemned to death, to be killed – and on the third day to rise again from the dead. But the disciples have yet to get their hands around this message; have yet to understand exactly what Jesus is talking about. They perhaps imagine that He is using metaphorical language to warn them how difficult things are going to be when they set up the Kingdom.

The full extent of their ignorance of Jesus’ message is manifest today in the response of James and John (as well as the other ten disciples) to Jesus’ third announcement. It is as though they haven’t even heard what He has said; as though they are nodding their heads to Jesus’ words but their eyes are glazed over and it’s clear that no one is home, no one is listening. For they immediately request positions of power and glory alongside our Lord once He has established His Kingdom. What does Jesus’ response to their request reveal about the meaning of discipleship and the mission of the Son of Man?