20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him.
21 “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.”
22 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
“We can,” they answered.
23 Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” Matthew 20:20-23
James and John’s mom approached Jesus for a “favor.” Now, did she come on her own accord or because they asked her to? She probably came on her own but it doesn’t mean that James and John hadn’t already thought about it.
As they’re walking along, I could hear them plotting about their “rightful” place in the kingdom.
The mother wanted the best for her boys but none of them knew what that would cost both boys. As one of the original twelve disciples, the pressures and demands on them would be great. They would be carrying out the greatest responsibility of the Church after Jesus ascended into heaven. If those 12 disciples failed, the Church would not exist. Granted, the Holy Spirit would be with them all, but it still didn’t mean guaranteed success. They would still have to put in the work and effort to make it happen, and with the Spirit’s leading and supernatural work, the Church would be planted.
From the twelve, only John was said to have died a natural death. Still, John would have to endure much persecution at the hands of vile leaders and great opposition.
The other brother, James, was clubbed or stoned to death.
Did their mother really want to hear what her sons would have to endure in this life? Probably not. Would she still request it if she knew?
This clearly falls into the category of “be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.”
Often when we pray, we ask for answers and for the path that God should use to answer it. Unfortunately, we already know that if and when God answers our prayer, He’ll do so in the manner and method that is best for us, not which is easiest for us.
That’s why we pray, “thy will be done.”
We really don’t know the obstacles God will have to move or the complex situations He’ll have to work in to answer that prayer.
Fortunately, though, we do know He is willing and able to answer our prayers according to His timing and methods.