The average Super Bowl ticket costs between $2,500 and $3,000. However, one sports fan paid $65,000 to get a seat on the 40-yard line, just six rows from the field, for Super Bowl LII! Front row seat—or even those close to the front row—are coveted in any sports or entertainment venue. The closer the seat to the front, the higher the price such a ticket can fetch.
Getting front row seats in Heaven was the request posed to Jesus by James and John (v. 37). But when they confidently asked Jesus to give them seats at His right and left, they did not really know what they were asking. These seats come with the high price- tag of undergoing suffering, which Jesus would soon experience. The seat giving, too, is not up to us. It is in the hands of God the Father, who sovereignly determines kingdom rewards. Most of all, Jesus explains to the jealous band of disciples that these seats are not about greatness; they are about serving (vv. 42–45). The ten think James and John are going to have a leg-up on telling them what to do in the kingdom by speaking first and securing the key seats next to the King. However, if we think in terms of the heavenly kingdom of Christ, this view of power positions is wrong- headed.
Power seeking is part and parcel of this world’s way of living. To be great in God’s kingdom involves being a servant—exemplified by Jesus. Jesus’ path to greatness came through serving those in need of salvation. He offered Himself to purchase our redemption. By the world’s standards, there was nothing great or appealing about serving or dying by the shameful death on a cross. Yet, the best seats in the house, where Jesus will reign, come by following the path our King took to greatness.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asks James and John (v. 36) and again a blind man (v. 51). To each, Jesus responded as a servant: listening, helping, caring. While the crowd thought the blind beggar was unworthy of Jesus’ attention, Jesus served him with the same grace He gave to James and John. We must do the same.