Mark  tells us that James and John wanted to be on Jesus right and left “in His glory” (Mark 10;35-45) which would put them in the positions of the two thieves on the crosses next to Jesus.  No wonder Jesus asked them if they knew what they were asking for.  Their requests had to do with being power hungry and wanted to be bog shots, not with hanging on a cross next to the glory of God who was glorified in that horrible death.  This gives rise to the wonderful statement of Jesus that ……..

“For the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom  for many” (Mark 10:45). The letter to the Hebrews chapter which was the epistle lesson for Sunday explains what this means.  “Consequently he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (7:25). Jesus is made a perfect High Priest before God by what he suffered and because of his perfect  life, death and resurrection he has made the perfect “ransom for many.”

James and John didn’t know what they were asking for but Jesus knew exactly what his Father in heaven was asking him to do.  As Luther wrote in his great hymn “Dear Christians One and All Rejoice”…..

5. He spoke to His beloved Son:
‘Tis time to have compassion.
Then go, bright Jewel of My crown,
And bring to man salvation;
From sin and sorrow set him free,
Slay bitter death for him that he
May live with Thee forever.

6. This Son obeyed His Father’s will,
Was born of virgin mother,
And God’s good pleasure to fulfill,
He came to be my Brother.
No garb of pomp or power He wore,
A servant’s form, like mine, He bore,
To lead the devil captive.

7.To me He spake: Hold fast to Me,
I am thy Rock and Castle;
Thy Ransom I Myself will be,
For thee I strive and wrestle;
For I am with thee, I am thine,
And evermore thou shalt be Mine;
The Foe shall not divide us.

8. The Foe shall shed My precious blood,
Me of My life bereaving.
All this I suffer for thy good;
Be steadfast and believing.
Life shall from death the victory win,
My innocence shall bear thy sin;
So art thou blest forever.