The audacity to demand that Jesus do whatever they ask of him is unbelievable. And of course, it ignites the ire of other disciples, most likely because the others thought that James and John might be getting something more than they would get.
Jesus calls them all together and explains, once again, that to be a leader in the Reign of God is to be a servant...it is to make oneself available to the other. He says that the one who wishes to be the greatest among them must be a servant to the rest and the one who wishes to be first must be slave to all.
This image turns our vision of the world on its head, that the most important among us is to act as the least and to serve the others -- especially the poor, the social outcast and the marginalized. In Jesus’ world, as in ours today, servants were considered to be at the bottom of the ladder of society. They are the invisible ones, the expendable ones.
Yet in the Reign of God, the servants are the truly special ones. By their service to others they follow Jesus Christ, and through their actions proclaim their citizenship in the Reign of God. So let us reflect this week on our own place in the world and in the Reign of God. To whom am I called to serve? Who serves me and how do I treat them? How do I make myself available to the poor and marginalized; to those in need?