35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
39 “We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 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.” Mark 10:35-40
James and John wanted the best seats in the house! Just after Jesus had taught them about eternal spiritual things, the brothers asked for their own place in heaven. It’s a pretty bold request, and tremendously selfish.
The time was getting short for the brothers to make a request like this. I mean, you have the Son of God standing before you, so why not ask? Why did they presuppose that they should take a rightful seat in glory? Perhaps they had an overinflated view of themselves. None of them had been battle tested and hardened.
As time went on, I suspect the brothers would be highly embarrassed that they even considered asking for a special place in glory.
As usual, Jesus was gracious about it. Jesus didn’t rebuke them for it, nor did He grant the request. He knew what they would be facing soon so He might have just been giving them a bit of slack.