"Hurry up and finish your breakfast, we need to get to him before all the others do” snipped the middle-aged mother who had cleaned off the table and rushed her adult sons like they were youngsters.
"Ok, mother, but I really don't-" John hesitantly tried to interject."
"Don't think! That is your mother's job. You two have had so many opportunities over the last few years and you have said nothing!"
"My boys are so deserving..."she says as she grabs her covering and wraps it tightly over her graying hair.
"You two are the kindest, wisest and may I say, best looking of the bunch" she lovingly touches the face of James as she walks towards the door. "Just think of the others: Matthew, smart but his reputation as a tax collector will hinder him from being a loved leader and then there is Peter! Don't get me started on how you have told me about his overwhelming sense of importance-"
"Mother, we never said such a thing, but he can be a little quick to speak" John sheepishly inserted.
She continued, " Well even so, you two are the best! Don't even ask me what I really think about that Judas, oh he smiles and nods but I have always had a strange feeling about him, trust me, he is only in this for himself!"
"Sounds like a lot of people are..." muttered James under his breath.
"What was that?" She froze like all mothers do when their children are trying to chide them under their breath.
"Nothing, let's go” he replied. They entered the streets that were swelling with activity. The hot middle eastern sun had already begun to warm their faces and the dirt from the roadway floating up over their toes so that their freshly washed feet were getting as dark as their sandals within minutes.
As they walked along, their well-meaning mother, rehashed all the arguments of what she had said and what she was going to say. They, bound with love and honor for their mother, let her talk and didn't really mind allowing her to be the one to put audible words to what they were truly feeling. Secretly, they had begun feeling the same way and felt she had some strong evidence for her request. She could see, along with everyone else that His popularity was coming to a head and could feel in her spirit that something very big was about to happen.
"I just want to be sure that when all this happens, you two will be in the right positions for -"
Her words were interrupted by the push of another large group of people. They had arrived and so had most of the people in the city and they were swarming around Jesus. He was speaking and she gestured for her sons to go to their usual places. As they walked away, she nervously smiled and yet with her eyes gave that confident glance to her sons, the one only mothers can give when they are ready to go to battle for their children.
Jesus had been speaking for some time, yet her mind was so wrapped up in what she had prepared to say that she wasn't listening. To the observer, she looked engrossed in every word, but she was enraptured in her own ambitions.
As Jesus finishes, "and on the third day He will be raised up." He begins to gather His disciples and they move towards Jerusalem. An opening came, she grabbed her moment. Her moment to get the award due her sons and if she were honest with herself: to her (all parents feel rewarded when their children are honored). As quickly as she could, she pushed herself before him; with all her nervousness removed and before she even has the chance to call out her usual greeting of "Master", she falls at his feet and bows in front of Him. Face still bowed, "I have a request!" she blurts out. Jesus, gently helping her to her feet, looks her in the eyes and says, "What do you wish?" This moment was only seconds but those eyes peered deeply into hers and she felt he already knew her request. To her own surprise she almost felt shame creeping into her soul, but the words were already leaving her lips and to capture them would mean to capture her very life's breath. "Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left." There it was out, she said it. Strange regret rushed over her.
It was in this moment that Jesus, eyes so intense with pain and love for her, simply replied: "You do not know what you are asking." The two sons, James and John were standing just over her shoulders and Jesus looks towards them and continues: "Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?". The two, without hesitation or contemplation of the words Jesus just spoke to them, answered with a childish, in stereo response: "We are able”. The answer so quickly and excitedly stated that they felt they had the job if they could just say "Yes!". Fastest job interview they have had and they feel certain they have most deservedly nailed it.
"My cup you shall drink, but to sit on My right and My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father."
At this point all the other ten have been listening and are hurt, shocked and indignant at the ridiculous request. The group all began speaking at once and in their frustration, no one was being heard. Jesus calms them, calls them to himself and reminds them that "whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." They quiet down like a storm on the open sea. The proud mother's heart was beginning to tremble with a little bit of fear and embarrassment as she let the crowd flood in front of her. Her ears had finally heard what He had been teaching and she didn't want her two boys to have any part of "giving their lives for many". She whispers to herself, "what have I wished for?".
The disciples were regrouped both physically and mentally as they were leaving Jericho and approaching Jerusalem. The recent squabble was of no concern now. The large, worshipful crowds had such energy that the idea that Jesus would be hated or die had vanished with the waving palm trees. Their hearts began to leap within them again at the possibility of a Righteous and Fair King ruling Israel once again. The crowds were deep and the people so close that it was hard for James and John to keep close and watch out for anyone who may get too close to their Jesus, but they knew from experience that He would keep no one away, even the beggars.
"Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" two voices began to cry out repeatedly in such pain and agony that a passerby would have mistaken them for a dying animal. The crowd by the road began to get boisterous and shouting ensued. This didn't stop the guttural cries, but fueled their intensity. "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!"
It was no surprise to the disciples that among all the chaos of the pressing crowd, Jesus, like many times before, stopped and called to them, "What do you want Me to do for you?"
By this time the crowd, shocked by His attentiveness to the two men sitting by the road, parted to make a path for Jesus. The two were already seated but made feeble attempts to bow towards the sensation of His presence. They were dirty and half starved.
For years’ people, had passed them by as if they themselves were blind to the two men. As is so with those who suffer alongside each other, the two, although not physically related, at this point felt a brotherly connection. Their moment had come! The moment they had prayed for, the Messiah, Son of David, prophesied One, was walking by them and they were not going to squander this moment. They were going to proclaim His Majesty to the crowd and hope they would be heard. They had been heard and He was at their bent knees and although they couldn't see Him, their hearts were full of pure worship. Yes, they did have a request, a request like so many other people had of Him, to be healed. Jesus, moved with compassion, reached out and to the repulse of the crowd touched their filth covered eyes. Immediately, they began praising! Immediately their physical sight became as clear as their spiritual sight had been while they sat waiting for the Savior. Immediately they joined the crowd, followed Him towards Jerusalem, praising their King. Their Eternal King.
*The blind eyes of those who had not walked with Him were now open to see the beauty of the world, allowing them to live as others had lived and yet, they just wanted to follow Him and continue to praise Him. The spiritual sight of those walking with Him daily had been totally eclipsed by their own ambition. The ability to worship "God with us" was hindered by the desire to share in what they assumed was an earthly limelight. Jesus will never dim; His Kingdom has no end and He will shine forever. Thankfully, the spiritual eyes of the disciples were eventually opened and they understood all that Jesus had been teaching them, after He was resurrected. Have your eyes been opened? Ask Jesus to heal your blindness. He has experience. He will heal you of your spiritual darkness, just recognize Him as Savior and King of your life and He, moved with compassion and love will heal you, instantly and eternally. (John 3:16)