Resolving the Internal Crisis
Wherever two or more people are gathered there cannot but be crisis at a time or another in the course of their relationship. Little wonder that Jesus himself talks about where two or three are gathered that such a gathering should not be under-estimated because whatsoever brought two people together and they could agree, God himself would reckon with such agreement crowing their desires if they remain in unity. (Mat 18:19-20)
This shows that if people could agree on something through their gathering, there could also be crisis in such gathering.
Bringing this a little bit closer, we know that when couples come together they do so in “twos” before they could be brought together as one, they have agreed, they have become united at least that is what their coming together suggests to people who are seeing them, that after several thoughts within themselves, after deep and deeper reflections within their hearts they have decided to come together as one.
However, for myriads of reasons, we later discovered that rifts occur between the earlier ones who have said they were in unity and this unity sometimes would degenerate such that they would say they do not wish to live together again and in fact some would say they regretted coming across such a person in their life. Why is this so? It is because of the rifts, crisis that developed amongst them which they couldn’t resolve.
What I want to point out for citing the above illustration is that such people are two, they are not three, it is in between the duo that the crisis has developed.
This shows that among two people, there could be crisis which defies resolution and as it can happen among them so can it happen among those who are more than three.
The problem associated with many people’s crisis is that when someone agrees, the other people may not agree with the resolution, thence to resolve such, a good leader would need wisdom, understanding, knowledge of God to do that, which essentially involves sometimes, compromises to allow peace to reign.
There was an incident that was recorded in the two gospels of the bible; Matthew and Mark which show that internal crisis erupted among the disciples of Jesus Christ. However, in explaining this, I will like to use the gospel according to saint Mark (10:35-45) for the explanation of this article.
The crisis is associated with the request that the sons of thunder asks of Jesus to do for them. Why their request could degenerate into what was not expected shall be seen, as we examine the contents of the book in details beneath.
On the Chapter in Brief
It is stated by e-sword commentary that this chapter was written around 29 AD. Bible students would recall that Mark who wrote this book was not a direct member of the disciples of Christ, and it is assumed that many of his write-up were gotten from Apostle Peter (who had personal relationship with the family as shown by his actions when he was freed by the angel from the prison custody in Acts 12:12) and perhaps his mother.
After this many bible scholars believed that John Mark (called Marcus) in first peter 5:13 made Apostle Peter his spiritual father. And he perhaps was believed to be instrumental in putting down many of the apostle’s works when alive. After the apostle’s demise or probably towards the tail end of the apostle’s life on earth that was when it was believed that he compiled those works of his’
1. They Sought His Indulgence:
In this account it was stated by Mark that James and John walked up to their master, Jesus and seek his indulgence. However, in Matthew’s account it was stated that they walked to the master in company of their mother, and after they had worshiped him, they drew his attention by their worshiping him.
“And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.” (Mar 10:35; see also Mat 20:20-21)
Before anyone would do anything, one would seek for the audience of the person one is interacting with, seek for his understanding before talking to the person. Because if the person they wanted to talk with does not create avenue for that, that would not augur well for the person. Thus, as followers of Christ, they seek for his understanding.
Poll 1: Seek Leaders Attention
Do you seek your parents or masters’ attention?
2. His Response
Having accosted him that they wanted to see him, he gave them audience asking them what is it that they want from him. This is because good masters like good parents would always want to listen to their servants and children, they would want them to ask them questions. For if they do not ask them questions who they would ask questions. Jesus shows an example of a good leader with listening ears here.
“And he said unto them, what would ye that I should do for you?” (Mar 10:36)
Poll 2: Listening ear
As Parents and Masters’ do you have listening ears to your subjects?
After giving them the audience that he is willing to listen to them, he is willing to hear them out, they probably signaled to their mother to go ahead with what they have discussed with her in presenting their case to their master, rabbi and Lord.
I said this because in the account of saint Matthew of this place he says, they were not the one who presented their requests to Jesus.
If they were not the ones who presented their case directly to Jesus as saint Matthew stated whom we believed was one of the apostles, then it means that after seeking the audience with their master, which the woman may likely not have direct access to, they signaled to her to take up from there, using her feminine power on the Lord.
I view this from the perspective of those who use to have two and more wives in my land and perhaps in other lands. When they wanted to ask of something from their father and they thought that may generate some issues among other children they would go through their mothers and or go through someone whom they know that their father like so much, whom their father may likely not say “no” to.
To corroborate this, we shall discover that this was the style that Nathan the King’s Seer (or prophet) and Bathsheba used in taking the kingdom off Adonijah in the book of first Kings chapter one.
“Go and get thee in unto king David, and say unto him, Didst not thou, my lord, O king, swear unto thine handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon thy son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne? why then doth Adonijah reign?
“Behold, while thou yet talkest there with the king, I also will come in after thee, and confirm thy words.” (1 Ki 1:13-14)
This was the style that the children and their mother, Salome used in presenting the request to Jesus Christ.
It is logical according to my land to assume that the disciples after seeing that the woman entered to discuss with their master that they excused her and her children to given them some privacies to discuss with their master.
It should be cleared from this that Jesus has given all believers on earth the grace to ask for whatsoever we want from him, because it is always father’s desire to hear his children ask things from them.
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
“If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” (Joh 14:13-14)
3. What Their Request Was
As stated by Matthew in his gospel that their request came through their mother, the request was that he should grant his children the right to sit at his right and left hand in the glory.
“Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.
“And he said unto her, what wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.” (Mat 20:20-21)
e-sword in her commentary says, “Matthew says that this request was made by Salome their mother; but though she made the request as from herself, yet it is evident that they had set her upon the business; and therefore Jesus, knowing whence it came, immediately addressed the sons.”
Kingdom in Greek is written as “βασιλεία”, Romanized form is basileia (pronounced as bas-il-i'-ah) which means rule, reign, royalty.
However, Mark in his account used glory instead of kingdom.
“They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.” (Mar 10:37)
Glory in Greek is “δόξα”, Romanized form is doxa (pronounced as dox'-ah) which means dignity, honor.
They perhaps was talking about the future event that Jesus has painted that would happen since he says that he would be arrested and killed earlier they thus looked forward to what would happen, since he has been considered a great prophet by many in the land, they thus considered it that as Prophet Abraham would have a right and left hand on which people who believed and followed him would sit at, this would be applicable to him and she asks for that favor to be bestowed upon her children too.
On another note, this glory and or kingdom could be viewed from the perspective of what they had been expecting the messiah would do for them which is bringing back unto them the kingdom.
“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Act 1:6 see also Mic 5:2; Zep 3:15-17)
Sermon writer in her commentary says, James and John have failed to hear Jesus’ prediction of his upcoming death, and they regarded this journey to Jerusalem as a messianic march on the city to restore its former Davidic glory so that Jesus might assume the Davidic throne.”
From their response to what Jesus said, we shall see that their thought point to the former assertion of what the meaning of glory is than to the second which is that he was probably going to Jerusalem to take the kingdom and give it to the Israelis then.
4. It is a Bigger Ask
Having confirmed that James and John had a hand in what their mother presented to him, he told them that they do not know what they were asking for.
Jesus though God in human flesh told them that what they were asking for is bigger than him, because he is still in the flesh, thus he clarifies it unto them, to let them know why he said what they have asked for is a bigger ask.
“But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Mar 10:38)
We shall see the following in his expatiation of what they have asked from him.
(i) He did Not Rebuke Them
It is imperative to clear our minds of this, that when Jesus was talking to them, explaining to them what their request connotes, he did not rebuke them. When we rebuke our children or our servants when they ask to know some things from our hands, they will lose confidence in coming to us again to ask for some other questions or make further requests. And when they lose such confidence in us, they would go outside to ask of such, learning it from others outside. Sometimes if not most of the times, when they go out to learn of something from outsiders, they come back injured, bastardized, abused, raped (physically and spiritually) etc. Jesus did not rebuke them, he knows that their request is a bigger ask and he takes his time to clarify it unto them why it is so.
(ii) He Went to Their Levels
Jesus knows the level of each of his followers and disciples and he was dealing with them in that manner. As parents and leaders, it is essential that we also be like Jesus knowing the levels of our subjects and children.
(iii) He Did Not Compare Them
Having known their level, their intelligence quotient, he did not compare them with other disciples while addressing them. There is a proverb in my land that says when we compare a child with other children, we shall beat one to death.
Many parents are the ones who created problems for themselves with their children because they compare their children with someone else’s children. When we compare them with other children, they we would not talk to them peaceably instead of going to their level to explain the situation of things to them, to answering their questions, we shall abuse them, we shall talk to them in a harsh manner and this would piss some of them off such that they go inside their shells like snails and would not come forward to talk to us again neither share their minds with us.
This is equally affecting relationships, most especially love relationships, for a person who has been jilted by a lover after given nit all it takes, when he or she gets involved with other person he would be comparing the person with the other person and this would not augur well such that if that comparison is not ended before they be married, it is the one that would lead to their separation and divorce in future.
Jesus knowing their level went to their level to explain to them what their request connotes.
Poll 3: Comparison
Do you compare your children with some else’s children?
We should try not compare our children with others, even we should not compare our children among themselves because each person is created distinctly.
(iv) Asks Them Question
In bringing his expatiation to a close, He asks them this question “can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Mar 10:38b)
5. They Are Optimists
After clear explanation to them that the request is a bigger ask, without trying to compare them with anyone, they replied him optimistically, replied with a positive mind, they did not hesitate before answering his questions that they can do that
“And they said unto him, we can. …:” (Mar 10:39)
May I say this from what these sons of Zebedee say that we also need to be optimistic on the issues of life, we need to be positive to life issues, becoming positive to that thing which we are looking forward to possessing. We should remove the obstacles in our hearts, it is when we have obstacles in our hearts that we become unable to do that which we hope to do. Remember ye the ten spies to the land of Canaan, their obstacles were in their hearts, not as if those giants attacked them, neither chased them when they were spying the land, but because they have had obstacles carved out in their hearts, individually while they were returning to their brethren in the wilderness it was the carved obstacles in their hearts that they presented to others, making them afraid and terrified, while two of them had another mind, a different mind, for they were optimistic, they were positive, they had removed those obstacles from their hearts before they got to their fellow Israelis yea, they have defeated those giants in their minds.
“And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
“But the men that went up with him said, we be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.
“And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” (Num 13:30-31 & 33)
That is the kind of mind that the Lord wants us to have to life issues, it was not as if those two spies too do not know that they would pass through some things before they would be able to overcome those giants, but they have a positive mind that those obstacles they would scale through them all.
That was the mind that James and John presented to Jesus here, stating to him that though it would be difficult, but they shall do it, they shall accomplish it.
Poll 4: Ideology
What is your ideology to life challenges and issues?
6. Dug into Their Hearts
Jesus through their eyes penetrated their hearts and future and attested to their reply that they certainly can do what they said, because their minds are made up on Jesus and his Christ. They have decided to give it all it takes to do what is in their hearts, sitting at his right and left hand in glory.
“… And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized:” (Mar 10:39b)
Jesus here in his reply used the physical thing to ask question and to explain what he meant unto them. However, we shall see that the cup here, which in Greek is “ποτήριον”, Romanized form is potērion (pronounced as pot-ay'-ree-on) meaning drinking vessel or fate or lot. And the baptism here in Greek is “βάπτισμα”, Romanized form is baptisma (pronounced as bap'-tis-mah) while baptized is written in Greek as “βαπτίζω”, Romanized form is baptizō (pronounced as bap-tid'-zo) to make wet, wash.
From the contents of their discussion which the two sons of Zebedee understand perfectly well it implies that the drinking of the cup and the baptism being talked about here is not the physical one. Jesus was not talking about the physical immersion in water but was talking about what would betide him.
We all must take the matter of salvation seriously like these sons of Zebedee let us give it all it takes to be saved.
7. Grant of the Request is Beyond me
Jesus replied them that though they will give the matter of salvation all it takes as they have given it all it takes to be following him now, but the requests made could not be granted by him.
“But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.” (Mar 10:40)
The reasons why the granting of their request is beyond him was stated and they are:
(a) Only God can do That: The granting is in God’s hands bot him. When he talked about God’s hands, he means the spirit. We shall recall that the bible says God is spirit and those who worship him will do that in spirit and truth. He is the God of truth and it is only the God of truth that can do that, that is what he was implying here and telling them.
“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (Joh 4:24)
(b) Reserved for Some: Jesus is talking about the mind of God here to his disciples, that such seats have been reserved, they have been prepared for some people.
“But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.” (Mar 10:40)
Prepared here in greek is “ἑτοιμάζω”, Romanized form is hetoimazō, (phonetic spelling is het-oy-mad'-zo) which means make ready. Such positions have been set aside for those who have been made ready.
Herein do we see some talk about predestination or preordained. We should however note that on this aspect of preordination from the foundation of the world, the subject is like the case of Esther and Vashti (Est 1:19); King Saul and David (1 Sam. 15:28); King Solomon (when he was given a condition for which he must fulfil if he wants long life for himself (1 Ki 3:14)).
If God has preordained something for you from the foundation of the world if thou failest to continue in his will, such thing prepared for you would be taken off you and given to somebody else better than you are. The “better” in this sense does not mean wiser than you are, beautiful than you are, more knowledgeable than you are but it means someone who is ready to fulfill his wills, someone who is ready to obey and follow his commandments. (1 Sam 2:27-30)
Therefore, we should note that pre-ordination contrary to some people’s way of presenting and sermonizing it does not give room for malfeasance, sinning, pride, willful disobedience, rejection of the grace that has appeared once for all.
Poll 5: Preordination
Do you believe in preordination?
No matter what our predisposition is to predestination, we must know that we must continue to serve the Lord if we really wish to possess that which God has for us in him.
Those people who are unsaved and are yet hiding under the subterfuge of lie that “if I am predestined to be saved, I shall be saved even at the last minute of my life”. I want to sincerely appeal to you to get out of that canopy of lie and yield yourself to Jesus now, because there is no tomorrow what you have is this moment that you are reading this message.
(c) He Was Yet in Blood and Flesh: Jesus replied that he cannot decide that, because he was yet in flesh and blood like they are.
8. Internal Crisis Developed
The disciples were in common before, doing things together, but when they heard what transpired between their master and the sons of Zebedee the atmosphere of things changed. Let us see what therefore led to this.
(i) Hearing what happened: It is certain that the other disciples were not with them when they were discussing this issue. As stated above that they perhaps gave them privacy to discuss their minds with their rabbi.
“And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.” (Mar 10:41)
Heard in Greek is “ἀκούω”, Romanized form is akouō (phonetic spelling is ak-oo'-o) which means come to the ears, reported, noised about, understand.
(ii) They Were Told
When they heard it, how they heard it was not stated. It may not be immediately, and it may be. I said it may not be immediate because since it was heard as we know the nature of women, the mother of the children could have been the one sharing the discussion had with Jesus with her friends and from there the message would be carried to the disciples of what transpired.
They may also have heard through other means like those who hear part of what is being discussed as it is being said that walls have ears. There is nothing we speak in secret that would not be heard later in as much as it has been spoken like Jesus himself posited.
“Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” (Luk 12:3)
(iii) They Perhaps Asked: The disciples too may have asked from their master what transpired between them. And as a good master who has nothing to hide from his subjects had told them and what his responses were.
Let us see the crisis that developed among them after hearing what transpired in their absence.
“And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.” (Mar 10:41)
(iv) What is This Crisis? The crisis was that they were “much displeased” with them, with the two brothers.
Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary says “much” is being used in the negative sense to mean “a large amount of something” and or in terms of degree it means great degree; while displease means to make somebody feel upset, annoyed or not satisfied.
In Greek much displease is “ἀγανακτέω”, the Romanized form is aganakteō (pronounced as ag-an-ak-teh'-o) which is derived from ἄγαν agan (much) and ἄχθος achhos̄ (grief) to be greatly afflicted, that is, (figuratively) indignant, to be much (sore) displeased.
They were annoyed, grieved with the development such that it has effect on their relationship with the duo with time.
Let see some of the effects of this knowledge that they have gotten from the words heard.
(v) Effect of This Knowledge: Some things when they are kept secret would keep the association moving but immediately some people have a knowledge of that news, there would be rift in the society or association.
(a) The Crisis Was Revealed: Initially it seems as if everything was going on smoothly with everyone but as soon as they heard this, their actions changed and with time Jesus noticed the changes in their disposition among one another. A good leader must always take note of the relationship among his subjects so that the establishment would keep growing.
When we are seriously annoyed or angry with a person it would be revealed in how we talk with the person among other changes.
(b) Their Countenance Changed: Others for what they heard do not interact with the duo like before, their countenance changed towards them, like it happened to Jacob when he was with Laban, when he noticed the changes in the eyes of Laban towards him he called his wives to let them prepare for his own home.
“And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him as before.” (Gen 31:2)
(c) Think of Evil: Someone that is annoyed with his brethren would not think of something good about the person what would fill the person’s heart is evil towards the person. This is part of the reason why couples living together should not harbor annoyance in their hearts towards their partner. We have heard of a lawyer who killed his spouse, because she has been harboring annoyance in his heart towards the person for a very long while.
Jesus says out of the heart comes evil thoughts, when we harbor anger, animosity and other vices in our hearts it is dangerous for our relationship and healthy living. (Mar 7:21)
(d) Excommunicate Them: They may be nursing in their hearts that when their leader Jesus is gone for after all he has said he would soon die, they would excommunicate them from among them. This was what Esau nursed in his heart against Jacob those days (Gen. 27:41)
9. Crisis Could Not be Hidden
As humans they would try to hide the crisis from their master but that could not be sustained for long as he detected what was on going among them perhaps when he sent them out, he discovered that they excluded James and john and ask that they work and walk alone.
We shall recall that he used to send them out to some places to go and minister before he gets there and, in an instance, it was stated that he sent them out in “twos”. May be something like that happened, sending them out in “twos”, and they refused to partner with either of them. (Luk 10:2)
10. Resolving the Crisis
Having noticed it, he viewed his work would be a failure if he dies, all he has labored for since the time he was given birth to and primarily since the time he started his ministry would be for nothing thence, he wade in to the situation by doing the followings
(i) Call Them Together: When he discovered the anomaly, he had to call them together.
“But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, …” (Mar 10:42a)
(ii) Used Worldly Illustration: He told them the common things happening in the world having noticed that they all have this same mind, they all aspire to be leaders.
“But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.” (Mar 10:42)
The people in the world are those who fight to be leaders, they do so because they exercise lordship over their subjects, they control them as they will.
(iii) You Are Different: Having said that he let them know that they are different from the people of the world, they have not been called into that order and living. He told them what they have been called to.
“But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:
“And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.” (Mar 10:43-44)
(iv) Used Himself as a Prototype: He showed himself unto them that he is an example of a leader and that, that is the kind of leadership he expects of them, being a servant to gain all.
How good it is to have a father, or parents who can show himself as an example for his children. That is the kind of father we have in Jesus he shows himself as an example for his disciples, that though he be high, yet he lived a lowly life, ready to serve anyone, and really serving everyone who comes to him.
“For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mar 10:45)
Having explained everything to them, how he wants them to live, the kind of leadership he expects of them, they were contented. This contentment was shown in their relationship afterwards because those people were among those who received the power of the Holy Ghost in the upper room.
In an association of two or more people,
there shall always be misunderstandings, however, as leaders we should not allow this to degenerate further than necessary, immediately we noticed such, we should arise to the occasion and stop it. When the situation is addressed as followers, we should be contented with what we have heard and it unclear should ask questions to that effect so that it be cleared once and for all, that is how we shall be known as sons and daughters of God.
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