In Matthew 20, we see Jesus walking from Galilee to Judea, eventually on his way to Jerusalem. At one point, Jesus stops and pulls his disciples aside, yet again, and tells them that he will be condemned to death, mocked, flogged, and crucified, only to be resurrected and raised to life three days later.
And how do they respond? James and John’s mother comes and asks Jesus to allow her sons to sit at his right and left in his kingdom:
“What is it you want?” he asked.
She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”Matthew 20:21
You can see that Jesus patiently answers her and the rest of the disciples, but I have to imagine that Jesus is thinking to himself… What in the world??? Did they not hear what I just told them?
That’s my interpretation, of course, but wouldn’t that make sense? Imagine that you just said something that you think is super-important to your friends or family and they start talking about something else.
And why were the disciples thinking of something else? Only because they had their own ideas in mind. They had their own program for Jesus. They were ready to set him as the king over Israel because this is what they were expecting of the Messiah. That is who they were wanting him to be and so they started tuning out what he was saying to them. These truths of his real plan were hidden to them because of their own blindness and their own deafness.
How often is that the case for us? How often do we think we have God figured out and that we understand everything about him only to find out at some point that there is something new that we hadn’t considered and your perspective shifts?
Except for many of us, our arrogance and pride prevents us from really hearing and seeing what it is that God wants to say to us. In this case, Jesus is telling the disciples plainly what his plan is, and yet they can’t hear him because they have their own ideas about who Jesus is and what he desires.
I think that this should be a warning for us. Let us read the Word of God with the eyes and ears of our hearts open to seeing and hearing what Jesus is saying, not what we want to see or hear because it is our desire.