XXVII. Going up to Jerusalem
107. The Desire for Preference
20Being asked when the kingdom of God was coming, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed;
21nor will they say, 'Lo, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold,
the kingdom of God is within you.”a
20The mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to Jesus, with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something.
21And he said to her, “What do you want?”
She said to him, “Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.”b
22But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?”
They said to him, “We are able.”
23He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
24And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers.
25But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 26It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27and whoever would be first among you must be your minister;c 28even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life in the service of many.
(Lk. 17:20–21; Mt. 20:20–28)
a “the kingdom of God is within you.”—Jesus' kingdom is an inner spiritual kingdom—the rule of God in the heart of the believer. This is one of Jesus' greatest pronouncements.
b “She said to him, ‘Command that these two sons of mine may sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’” —John’s mother (and the apostles) think that Jesus is going up to Jerusalem to receive his kingdom. They believe the kingdom is about to be realized on a world-wide scale and that Jesus will rule over the nations from his capital at Jerusalem.
Although Jesus’ followers were destined for great disappointment when this did not happen, the concept of a future world kingdom under God's rule, a divine world government, is a valid one and was taught by Jesus. It refers to a future phase of Jesus’ inner kingdom that follows the growth and expansion of his brotherhood of the kingdom on our world.
Thus, Jesus taught two concepts of the kingdom on earth; he taught the kingdom as:
(1) A present reality—existing now within the heart of the believer. Personal spiritual fellowship with God the Father. The inner submission of our will to God’s will. The kingdom of God within.
(2) A future hope—when the kingdom would be realized in fullness. The Messiah rules over the nations of the world. The kingdom as an outward and world-wide phenomenon. (See also Ch. 166, fn. b.)  (continued next page)
Lk. 17:20 asked when / asked by the Pharisees when (RSV)
Lk. 17:21 is within you.” (KJV) / is in the midst of you." (RSV)
Mt. 20:20 The / Then the (RSV) • to Jesus, with / to him, with (RSV)
Mt. 20:27 your minister; / your slave; (RSV)
Mt. 20:28 life in the service of many. / life as a ransom for many. (RSV) (171:0/1867–8)