Scriptures in the old testament pointed to Jesus as the Messiah and the Jews knew it. The problem was they had a wrong understanding what the Messiah was. They believed that the Messiah would free them from Roman control and that he would be their early king.
The disciples believed it too. Yet three times Jesus said how he would die and rise again. At any time he did not say, he would conquer the Romans for them and sit on an earthly throne yet the disciples didn't get it.
James and John had big heads. They imagined reigning with Jesus that they wanted to sit next to him in his glory. All they could think about was themselves! Even in one gospel account, their mother had the same request for these two disciples. They did not get it.
Jesus understood and put them to the test. "Can you drink from the same cup and partake in the same baptism I will partake from?" Do you think they understood what that meant?
When they answered Jesus that they could, he sadly informed them they will, but he said it was not for him to decide who will sit next to him. And here is where he put them in their place. He told them that those who wants to be leader must be a servant and he closes with, "for the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve." Jesus didn't deny his kingship to them, but stated that his kind of kingdom is not of this world as oppose to the gentiles who wants to rule over their citizens.
Author of the Second Chance Series and owner of Unique Pen Press.