James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” — Mark 10:35
The disciples were on their way to Jerusalem. Struggling to understand all Jesus was telling them about what awaited Him, James and John made one of the Bible’s boldest statements to Jesus. It is also one of the worst!
Jesus had just told them that He must go to Jerusalem to be handed over and condemned to death. This was not the first time they had heard Jesus talk like this. The good news, He told them, was that He would rise again. Like many of the Jews at the time, James and John thought they were coming into their glory. God was going to throw off their enemies. Restore Israel. Bring peace. And they were going to be, or at least wanted to be, right at the center of it all.
Barely missing a beat, James and John’s first response to what Jesus had just told them was, “We want you to do for us whatever we ask” (Mark 10:35). A pretty bold request!
Of course, they wanted Jesus to exalt them to a position of power or status. They wanted to rule with Jesus. And yet Jesus reminded them that they must first suffer for Him.
God was not going to do what they wanted.
It’s easy to poke holes in James and John’s request and miss the more discreet ways we try to sell our own agendas to God. We too come to Jesus with our big plans, expectations, and self-centered dreams. When God doesn’t do what we want, we are tempted to get angry, lose faith, or take matters into our own hands.
The Bible says,
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the lord’s purpose that prevails. — Proverbs 19:21
Today, posture your heart to do what God wants. Walk humbly. Remember that He is the One leading you.
When God doesn’t do what we want, He is doing something better.
Lord, You are the King of creation. Reign in my life. Humble me. Posture my heart to do what You want. Forgive me for the times I make conditions or demands. You are the center, and I am not. I want to follow You, knowing that where and how You lead me is better and wiser. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Excerpted with permission from Settle My Soul by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk, copyright Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk
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How have you made the same request as James and John? What “agenda” do you need to turn from in order to posture your heart to do God’s will? Come share with us! Let’s pray today to submit ourselves to Jesus and whatever He has for us. ~ Devotionals Daily