Mt. 20:20-28; Mk. 10:35-45
James and John were very close personally with Jesus. They were probably cousins and as such could have played together with Him as children. As they were becoming more aware of the coming of the kingdom, they wanted to hold a prominent position with Jesus in that kingdom.
These brothers, along with their mother, who was probably Jesus’ aunt, approached Him with an impossible request. They asked to be seated in prominence on the right and left hand sides of Jesus when He came into His kingdom. He explained that this was not something that He could give.
This was another example of the misunderstanding that the people had regarding the kingdom of Christ. They thought that He would occupy the earthly kingdom of David.
Jesus reminded them again that true greatness comes by serving others instead of being served. He further stated that He came to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. That is for all who faithfully obey.