James and John ask Jesus, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.” And Jesus says, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” And they say that they are, and Jesus responds, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized.” (Mk. 10:37-39)
We’ve considered the glory of God this morning, and the fact that everything belongs to King Jesus. While the disciples were apparently envisioning the glory of heaven, or the glory of some man-made kingdom, Jesus immediately thinks of His impending death. For Jesus, His glory is His death. And this seems rather strange. Isn’t His glory His resurrection? Isn’t His glory His ascension and rule in heaven? And perhaps they are to some extent, but Jesus immediately considers His death and points out James and John don’t know what they are asking for. And we would do well to ask ourselves the same question this morning: Do we know what we are asking for when we ask God to glorify His church, to glorify His name on the earth, for His kingdom to come? Do we know what we are asking for? I think we often think of Edenic pasture sides, perfect little children with tear drop eyes, and eternally moderate weather. But Jesus sees the cross as His glory. Are you able to drink this cup? Do you understand the baptism that you have been baptized with? Do you understand that we are drink the death and sufferings of the Christ? Do you understand that you have baptized into the death and sufferings of the Christ? And do you understand that this is glory? This is how you are to rule, not as the gentiles who lord it over them, but as Christ, serving and giving His life as a ransom for many. One other aspect of this glory is the concept of being weighted down. On the cross Jesus was weighted down with the sins of the world which in one sense is the most inglorious thing in the history of the world. But this is simultaneously the most glorious thing in that Jesus was completely innocent. You are drinking the sufferings of Jesus; you are drinking the cross of Christ. But this is your victory, this is your glory: that the Lord of Glory bore your sins and the sins of the world. And in a mystery, we do this as a memorial before the face of God, bearing up the weight of the world and reminding Him of His promises to save and bless the world through the blood of Jesus our Savior.