Matthew 20:20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. 21 And he said to her, "What do you want?" She said to him, "Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom." 22 Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able." 23 He said to them, "You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father." 24 And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
We will look at this passage over a couple days. Let's first look at the mother of the sons of Zebedee. She brought her sons to Jesus desiring them to have a key position in His kingdom. She came to Jesus on her knees, as a humble person. This mother wanted the best for her children. This is a great example for mothers and for all parents. We are to want the best for our children and bring them to Jesus asking Him to give our children what is best.
However, the mother's request was for what she thought was best for her sons. Jesus told the woman and her sons that they did not know what they were asking for and followed with a question meant to bring insight, "Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" What did Jesus ask them? He asked if they were able to suffer and die in order to complete God's will (read Matthew 26:39). They ignorantly said, "We are able." When it came to die for Jesus, all the disciples fled (Matthew 26:56).
Jesus told the mother and her sons that her request for her sons to sit in seats of power next to His throne was not His to grant, but was for those chosen by God the Father. He also told the sons that they would suffer to complete their God-given assignment. Jesus empowered the sons to drink of His cup after He rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to be in them.
Lessons we can learn from this passage: (1) We are to desire the best for our children, for all children, bring them to Jesus and ask Jesus to give them what He thinks is best, not what we think is best; (2) We can expect a "no" answer if we ask outside the will of God; (3) We know Jesus will empower children to do His will just as He empowered the sons of Zebedee, James and John. James ably drank the cup the Lord Jesus drank and died because he did his God-given assignment of testifying about the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 12:2). John suffered for his faith as Jesus did (Revelation 1:9).
Lets bring our children to Jesus and ask that Jesus help them to be "the best" by accomplishing His will through them.