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BACKGROUND: James and John were sons of Zebedee, a wealthy fisherman from Galilee. They belonged to the inner circle of the disciples together with Peter. Jesus once called James and John "sons of thunder". Now Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem in order to suffer and die there. He had already twice predicted his coming death before this event.
  1. For what purpose did James and John think Jesus was going to Jerusalem?
    • Why didn't these brothers take seriously Jesus' prophecy in verses 33-34?
  2. James and John already believed in Jesus, but they didn't believe that he should suffer and die. When a person does not see the necessity of Jesus' dying, what does he expect from him and Christian faith?
  3. What do you think the sons of Zebedee wanted to do after having gained cabinet posts in the kingdom of Jesus?
    • Why is the thirst for power so common in our world?
    • How have you exerted influence or power over people in your family or in the work place?
  4. "Cup" often refers to suffering in the language of the Bible. What would the brothers have answered if Jesus had offered them a place on the right and left side of his cross (vs.38-39)?
    • Are you willing to accept suffering as a part of the responsibility and power you have been entrusted with?
  5. What was the sin of James and John a) in relation to Jesus and b) in relation to their neighbors?
  6. Why did the 10 disciples get angry with the sons of Zebedee in this situation (vs.41)?
    • What does our text teach us about the quarrels between Christians and the reasons why they occur?
  7. What is so revolutionary about the ideal Jesus sets here for a leader (vs.42-44)?
    • How much do you think Jesus' ideal for leadership is practiced among the Christians of our day?
    • To what degree have you followed the teaching of Jesus in verses 43-44? (You can answer in your heart.)
  8. What is the biggest difference between Jesus and the brothers James and John?
  9. How and when did Jesus do the job of a servant or a slave (vs.45)? (The answer comes from outside this text.)
    • The word "ransom" meant that a slave was bought and set free. Read verse 45 once more and apply it into your own life: From what did Jesus buy you free and at what price?

GLAD TIDINGS: Jesus yearns for you to accept his service to you. He wants you to receive the forgiveness of sins including the sin of misuse of the power entrusted to you.

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