Receiving His Baptism: Mark 10:35-45

Focus Passage: Mark 10:35-45 (GW)

35 James and John, sons of Zebedee, went to Jesus. They said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do us a favor.”

36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked them.

37 They said to him, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”

38 Jesus said, “You don’t realize what you’re asking. Can you drink the cup that I’m going to drink? Can you be baptized with the baptism that I’m going to receive?”

39 “We can,” they told him.

Jesus told them, “You will drink the cup that I’m going to drink. You will be baptized with the baptism that I’m going to receive. 40 But I don’t have the authority to grant you a seat at my right or left. Those positions have already been prepared for certain people.”

41 When the other ten apostles heard about it, they were irritated with James and John. 42 Jesus called the apostles and said, “You know that the acknowledged rulers of nations have absolute power over people and their officials have absolute authority over people. 43 But that’s not the way it’s going to be among you. Whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant. 44 Whoever wants to be most important among you will be a slave for everyone. 45 It’s the same way with the Son of Man. He didn’t come so that others could serve him. He came to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many people.”

Read Mark 10:35-45 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

Later on during Jesus’ ministry, two of the closest disciples come to Jesus with a request. They ask Jesus if they can each have the two most honored positions when He has entered into His glory. On the surface, we can see why someone would think that they want this request answered, however, in Jesus’ case, I really don’t think these disciples understood what they were asking.

Jesus had a similar thought, because He responds, “You don’t realize what you’re asking. Can you drink the cup that I’m going to drink? Can you be baptized with the baptism that I’m going to receive?” (v. 38)

Both disciples respond in unison, “We can.” (v. 39a)

However, with this response, Jesus gives them this reply: “You will drink the cup that I’m going to drink. You will be baptized with the baptism that I’m going to receive.” (v. 39b)

On the surface, it appears as though Jesus sidesteps the request these disciples ask Him, but in Jesus’ counter question and response, we see a powerful prediction regarding the type of deaths these disciples would face. At this point in Jesus’ ministry, these disciples are still blind to the idea that the point when Jesus receives His glory is while He is hanging naked on the cross. The disciples believe their question relates to when Jesus has conquered Rome and set Himself up as King.

Jesus shifts the focus onto the struggle that comes beforehand. Jesus draws the attention onto the cup of suffering that He would face in the garden prior to His arrest, and to the torture and abuse He would receive prior to being hung on the cross. While these two disciples didn’t realize it at the time, they tell Jesus they can face all of it.

We might have given Jesus the same response if we were there with them asking Jesus that question, and what I find amazing is Jesus essentially grants this portion of their request. Jesus tells them: “You will drink the cup that I’m going to drink. You will be baptized with the baptism that I’m going to receive.” (v. 39b)

All of Jesus’ disciples died in ways that make me believe that Jesus answered this request for all of them. While each was put to death for their belief in Jesus, they all experienced emotional pressure like the cup Jesus faced, and they all experienced physical abuse like the baptism Jesus faced.

However, the disciples (and us) have an advantage. While Jesus faced His trials while feeling alone, we have the Holy Spirit walking beside us through everything we face. If we are facing a trial for Jesus, the Holy Spirit is present. Jesus agrees to allow these disciples to face the same challenges He faced because He knows that this life is temporary and what really matters is being with Him for eternity.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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