Mark 10:32 They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. 33 “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, 34 who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”
35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
37 They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
38 “You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
39 “We can,” they answered.
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, 40 but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The online Bible at Biblegateway.com split verses 32-34 from the rest. I think it sets the scene for the rest of these verses. So, I have included them here.
Just so you know.... the guy writing this, Mark [John Mark], will show up in the book of Acts. He will cause a kerfuffle between Paul and Barnabas. He's only a teen when he was hanging out with the disciples. He is writing what they told him, not what he saw for himself. He was, however, familiar with the boys and their demise, because we will read about it in the Book of Acts.
The Zebedee brothers, John and James were the second and third disciples called. They gave up the family fishing business to follow Jesus. Their mom was probably not too pleased. Matthew 20 tells us that it was their mom who went to Jesus. Matthew [who wrote the book of Matthew and tax collector by trade] was a disciple; he was actually one of the ten mentioned in verse 41.
Now, the Zebedee boys are in hot water. They claim they want to sit on the left and right hand of Jesus when He takes over His Kingdom. Jesus warned them flat out. He told them they would not like what was going to happen to them.
Now, the eleven, in verse 41. That's all the other Disciples. They gave up their homes and family as well. The Zebedee boys were just using their Seniority. Of course, Simon Peter [Peter] was called first. They wanted to jump his claim to the "throne". Those two fishermen were like corporate raiders.... don't you think?
Jesus warned them. Jesus told them He was going to the Cross. Jesus told them He was going to be murdered.
They wanted to know plan B. "Who's going to be in charge when you're not here?" They hear Him saying, "I'll be back in three days."
If Jesus was going to be on His throne in a few days, they should get their seats ready.
Jesus couldn't grant them their wish. They will get a seat at a table... but it will not be ready until we get to the Book of Revelation.
Jesus told them God is in control of what happens. I don't think they have the concept of God yet.
I think they know something is different about Jesus. They were there when Jesus glowed after the transfiguration. I just don't think they got the concept of God yet.
These boys are probably still thinking Jesus is going to take on Rome!
I think this part of the scripture is about the "ignorance of the Zebedee boys" [and/or their mother].