In Mark 10:35-37, we have two disciples, James and John who go to Jesus with an odd request, that in “His glory,” they would be given privileged positions at His right and left . Matthew records that their mother was in on this political maneuver and we know by the context and other Scripture that their “glory” here was a political kingdom with Jesus ruling as Messiah.
Theirs was a cross-less Christianity, where Israel would be revived as a nation, their Roman oppressors ousted, and where they together with Jesus would rule. It was a gospel of prosperity, status, and power, not a gospel of the cross. This was the prevalent thought of their day among the Jewish leaders and we know this heresy still edures to this day.
In the previous passage in Mark 10, we saw how Peter asked Jesus from another angle about the benefits he would receive in this kind of kingdom. Jesus ultimately directs him also in Mark 10:32-34 to the cross. His answer to the sons of Zebedee is found in Mark 10:45, "even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many.”
If we are to understand the heart of God and His intentions for our lives, than we must understand God's call upon our lives to be servants. This call to serve, rather than be served is at the heart of how God wants to transform us into the image of Christ. This strikes out at our heart of selfishness, where we are constantly seeking our own good, rather than God’s glory and the good of those around us.
Jesus interaction with the "sons of Zebedee" help us to see how selfish we are by nature. We all need to be radically changed if we are to become givers rather than takers, servants rather than seeking our own needs. This is the work of God’s Spirit as we acquaint ourselves with the teachings of God’s word. and abide in Christ through prayer.
This is part of the goodnews of the gospel. Not only can we be saved through the shed blood of Christ, forgiven and declared children of God, but that we can take on a life of servanthood, where we lean the joy of serving and the blessing that comes with giving rather than receiving. That is the path to joy in Christ, as the Psalmist declared, "In Your presence O Lord is fullnes of joy, , at Your right hand are pleasures for forevermore." (Psalm 16:10-11)