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Background: James and John were sons to Zebedee, a fairly wealthy fisherman from Galilee. They were among the twelve disciples together with Peter. Jesus once called James and John ”Sons of Thunder”. Now Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem to suffer and die.

1. What do you think the sons of Zebedee wanted to do after having achieved a minister’s portfolio in Jesus kingdom?

  • Why is lust for power so common in our world? What kind of power do you have?
  • Consider how you have yourself used the power entrusted to you, e.g. over your siblings, or at school.

    2. ”A cup” often means suffering in the Bible. What would the brothers have answered if Jesus had promised them a place at either side of his Cross (38-39)?

  • Are you for your part ready to accept the responsibility and even difficulties that power brings with it? (think of e.g. the responsibility of a big brother or sister)

    3. In what way do you think James and John did wrong (sinned) against Jesus and their neighbours?

    4. Why did the ten disciples get angry with the Zebedee brothers in this situation (41)?

  • What does this Bible passage teach us about quarrels and their reasons between believers in Jesus?

    5. What is different in the idea of an ideal leader described by Jesus from what we generally think of leadership (42-45)?

  • To what extent do you think the idea of an ideal leader in this text is realised among believers in Jesus today?
  • What does this mean to you?
  • Have you been following Jesus’ teachings in verses 43-44? (You can also answer silently.)

    6. What is the biggest difference between Jesus and the sons of Zebedee?

  • Do you remember where and when Jesus himself acted as a servant and a slave (45)? (The answer is found outside this text.)

    7. The saying ”to pay as ransom” meant the buying free of a slave. Read verse 45 once more so that you take turns and each one reads the passage and every time replaces the word ”many” with his / her own name - to finish with think where Jesus bought you free from and at what price.

    GLAD TIDINGS: Even today Jesus expects you above all to consent to be served by him and to receive his forgiveness of your sins - even the sin that you have misused the power entrusted to you.

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