Matthew 20:20-23 (NLT)
20 Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. 21 “What is your request?” he asked. She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.” 22 But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?” “Oh yes,” they replied, “we are able!” 23 Jesus told them, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. My Father has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.”
The question posed by the mother of James and John came right after Jesus had told the disciples of his future death. Jesus said to them, “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” Understanding Jesus would come back to claim His kingdom the mother ask favored places for the sons. But Jesus responded to the sons and not the mother asking if they would be able to endure the suffering Jesus was about to endure. Even with their answer of YES, Jesus let them know there was a place for them, but the Father alone would choose the places that were prepared.
Jeffrey Dahmer was a serial killer. His murders were gruesome, involving rape, torture, dismemberment, and cannibalism. His first victim was beaten to death with a barbell from his home. Dahmer then buried his victim in the back yard. In 1994 Dahmer was beaten to death by another inmate. A question I have often heard is, “If someone like Jeffrey Dahmer placed his faith in Jesus Christ as His savior, even after all the horrible acts he committed; would Dahmer go to heaven?” In the book of Acts the Apostle Peter spoke to a crowd of people. Their hearts were touched by the message of salvation offered by God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The people asked the apostle, “What must we do?” Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” That day 3,000 people turned to Christ. Peter didn’t say, now those who have committed these sins can’t be forgiven and those who have committed these sins are ok. No, the message was repent, turn to God and be baptized because of your faith in Jesus Christ. According to Minister Roy Ratcliff, Jeffrey Dahmer appeared to sincerely follow those actions prior to his death. He repented of His sins, he placed his faith in Christ, and he had a desire to be baptized to show his commitment to Jesus. Dahmer did exactly what the Apostle Peter said should be done for salvation. Has a place been prepared for Dahmer in heaven, according to God’s word it has; but only the Father knows the place he will be given.