He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves

Jesus: (Entering from stage left. Heads to stage centre. Holding hands with Mark.)
“Let’s stop here for a short breather – that big hill ahead looks a monster!”

(Disciples follow with general milling around and conversation.)

Jesus: (Looking offstage left.)
“Break Time everyone – we are stopping for a bit – rest awhile. And – if you wouldn’t mind – give me some space with the boys, please. Thanks all.”

Mark: (Still holding hands with Jesus.)
“Do you want a quick massage Teacher – your shoulders look tense.”

Jesus: “Not right now Markie, thank you. By the way – you know the routine: break time … you don’t hold my hand … ?”

Mark: “Doh! I keep forgetting Lord!”

Jesus: “Thanks M. Okay The Twelve – gather round – short meeting please …”

(Mark sits at Jesus’ feet. Others continue milling around and talking.)

Jesus: “Hoy – you lot – come on! This won’t take long.”

(Still talking to each other, the twelve begin to gather around Jesus.)

John: “Not another meeting Lord – I was just going for a quick whizz.”

Jesus: “There is plenty of time for that after we chat – now where is Peter … ?”

Judas: “Last time I saw him he was chasing down bread for tonight.”

(General laughter with ad hoc comments:
“Peter and bread!” …
“He’s the dough boy!” …
“Always comes back with just one loaf though …”)

Jesus: “Come on lads – settle down! And John – might be a good time to do your business while we wait for the bread man.”

(General laughter. John heads for the bushes: stage right at rear. Two, and then three, disciples follow him.)

Jesus: “Awww man! You guys as well? Go on then – but make it quick please.
And someone find SP – there is something you really need to know …”


While Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised.” Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favor of him. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:17-28


25 thoughts on “He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves

  1. This is such a touching passage, and your narrative gives such life and breath to the Companions. Whose mother, in such circumstances, WOULD NOT make the Thunder Boys’ petition of Our Lord? It is so easy to look back on this and snort contemptuously… but truthfully, this is not so outlandish a request.

    Nonetheless, it’s always been an odd form of encouragement to me that, so very close to the end of their physical journey together… ALL of them seem to have yet to get the point. Jesus has to keep teaching this “servanthood” thing, all the way up to the Last Supper. And, to be frank, Lapel Pin Christians haven’t gotten it yet!

    The Big Bible folks… the fancy Sunday Clothes… Big-Tithers-who-Make-Sure-Everyone-Knows-It Church Leader Folks… they sit up at the Big Table, with The Pastor, at the church banquets and dinners… never sullying their hands with dirty dishes or brooms and mops afterwards. (That’s what the Women’s and Youth Ministries are for… they have Important Committee Meetings to attend.)

    It’s the rare and courageous pastor who lays aside his jacket after the meal, grabbing a wet sponge or broom, folding up tables and chairs, and making sure that the servers who prepared the feast, are themselves served and given time to relax and enjoy the fruits of their labors. (I’ve been privileged to work for some.)

    Servanthood… probably the single most difficult of Christian disciplines. I yet so struggle with this. Deep in the heart of Jesus, this is. Great post, Paul.

    Grace — LM

    • LM, what a gorgeous and timely comment. Thank you. The sentence which always gets me is this one:
      “When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers.”
      The same number of words as there were disciples: twelve insignificant words. But in this place, at that time, strung together just so?
      The essence of everything you write.

      (I feel another post coming on – so will stop before it forms)
      Just that some “difficult things” are also as eternal and timeless as eternity – and I keep tripping over them!


    • I always think you chaps do the present much better than us, whereas we seem to the past pretty good. Not sure if that has anything meaningful in it! 🙂

  2. Oh, Paul…(still laughing so it’s difficult to type). Only a male could see things from this perspective and get it totally spot on!

    Once again, you have raised my awareness to a whole new level. Although, it’s funny, thinking on it, I might have given John (being the youngest) the distinction of holding Jesus’ hand. I picture Mark sulking in a corner, since his gospel shows the disciples in such a “dim” light. 😀

    I always love your take on things; this one was particularly wonderful – truly felt like being there.

    • Susan – thank you! Prompted by not “hearing the noise” and “feeling the dust” as I read those verses. Then He took over and made it a production! 🙂

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