Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee approached him with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something. He said to her, "What do you wish?" She answered him, "Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your kingdom." Jesus said in reply, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?" They said to him, "We can." He replied, "My cup you will indeed drink, but to sit at my right and at my left (, this) is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father." (Mt 20,20-23)
We all look for rewards. The disciples of Jesus were not different. In Mark’s gospel the disciples themselves ask for this reward but here in Matthew’s gospel their mother is introduced to ask for the same.
So the gospels present a human situation. That is, humanly speaking, anyone who does something, even following a leader or being a disciple, does not do it for nothing. He always expects some reward, some position, and some upward mobility in society.
But what Jesus proposes is a downward mobility. A strange proposal it is. Following a leader or being a disciple or doing something extraordinary (even shedding blood) is not for an upward mobility but for a downward mobility (to be a slave).
· Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Jesus does not just propose it for others but says that he has with that aim to do his ministry. He has not come with any expectation of rewards and honours. He has just come for the mission but complete his life for the mission. His mission is his reward.
But the reward (which a man longs for) is the work of the Father. Father plans it and gives the reward as it pleases him.