John and James asked Jesus for places of honor in Jesus’ Glory. Gotta think about that for a moment. It is His Glory and His place of Honor. They requested two shares of position they had done absolutely nothing to earn or deserve.
So, He answers, “Can you be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” Can you earn the authority? The ones faithful in little will be given opportunity to be faithful in much.
Don’t mistake honor for mercy or grace. Grace and mercy are given. Honor is bestowed upon those who earn it. You gotta do something to receive honor. Paul says, “Give honor to whom honor is due.” The honor is owed for some valid reason.
Jesus says the honor given to position works for this world, but not for the kingdom of heaven. When we create position as a criteria for honor, we function like the world. When we honor accomplishment, we function like Jesus.
Paul’s defense of his apostolic ministry was not to make the claim that only he was an apostle or only he deserved honor because of a title. Paul never saw “apostle” as a title or position; he saw it as a functional lifestyle, a calling, and the validity of his apostolic ministry was that he experienced the baptism Jesus experienced!
Defining Honor Due
I have worked for ministries before: that is, I had a job and was paid by a ministry for my ministry. So, I functioned as an employee, answered to titled people positioned to oversee ministry, and was measured by their standards of success. I was never measured by how well I did the ministry of Jesus in these settings. Never even asked about the ministry of Jesus. And, I experienced the baptism of Jesus that earned spiritual authority. I never earned spiritual authority in these setting at all!
In these setting, I was told, “Here are the people you need to keep happy.” When these people were happy, I was considered a good employee. When these people were not happy, I was considered a failure.
In this setting, I never earned any honor or spiritual authority because the anointing, the gifts, the ministry, the calling of my life were all incidental. I was measured as a manager, promoter, marketer, a person who could put rear ends in seats and keep people happy.
When revolutionary revival came to my life, I was suddenly without anything except anointing, gifts, ministry, calling, and assignment. It was heavenly! It was freedom! Wow! The heavy, wet, moldly blanket of religion was lifted off my spirit man. I could breath fresh air!