Throughout our lives, most of us have been told by our teachers that there is no such thing as a stupid question. Well, in Mark 10:35-45 James and John blow the lid off that myth. They really did ask a really dumb question at an even more inopportune time. Jesus just finished telling the twelve for the third time, that his fate was all about suffering, death, and resurrection. Yet, immediately following they ask if they can sit on his right and left side "in your glory."
Talk about not getting it! What do you suppose the Zebedee brothers had in mind? They want a piece of the “messianic action,” on either side of Jesus’ throne. James and John think they know what it mean to follow Jesus but they still don’t get it.
Jesus is, as he tells James and John after their bold request, a servant messiah, and to follow a servant messiah one must become a servant: "whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:44-45).
In fairness to James and John, answering the call to "servant-hood" does not come easy. We are so much like then in many ways, aren't we? We would much prefer to be known as a great "anything" but servant. Yet, when by His grace, we are called to give of ourselves to serve the least of our brethren, we know that we are in God's presence.