“Allow me to sit on your right or left, Jesus”

21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.”

 22 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.”

 23 He said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.” -Matt. 20:21-23

 I really like this exchange. The mother of James and John comes to Jesus and asks that her two sons get to sit on his left and right side. Since Jesus is one day going to rule the world from Jerusalem, these must be pretty good seats (50 yards line good).

Jesus does not say that their kingdom theology is wrong. What he does try to convey to his disciples is that his ministry is not about ruling now. He has a job to do. He has a vocation to live. He has a mission to fulfill. Jesus, being the embodiment of obedient Israel, has to take upon himself the cup of God’s wrath on order to deal with the problem of sin and death.

The discussion of God’s wrath was going on in our Sunday School class this morning. Yet in thinking of this, I connected the passage above with one which I never saw the link before today. Let me know what you think:

37 And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

 38 At that time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. -Matt. 27:37-38


Any comments or suggestions? I could be totally off on this, but the connection seems very attractive to me.


5 thoughts on ““Allow me to sit on your right or left, Jesus”

  1. It seems that Jesus, as the king, knew that there would be two seated at his side. It is interesting that the next time Matthew speaks of Jesus as king, those on his left and right are the brigands on the crosses. Jesus is trying to get his disciples to understand that the kingdom comes after his role of suffering and vindication. Jesus has to take the cup of wrath, which the disciples ignorantly say, “Sure, we can drink of it!”

    Jesus took the cup of wrath on the cross, where the two seated on his left and right were not James and John (and I am sure they were glad that God had not chosen for them to be placed there)!

    Just my thoughts. I could be totally wrong, but I was looking for some interaction.

  2. Ah ha. Thank you for the explanation. Like James and John, I thank God for His provision with the unanswered prayers. Or rather, the requests that God didn’t grant me in the exact way that I had wished, because of His almighty sovereignty and wisdom.

  3. The one on the left and the one on the right are the Two Witnesses my friend. Revelation 11:1-14. Jesus chose his apostles, God the Father chose Two others in addition to Christ to represent The Word in preparation of Christ’s return prior His millennial reign, similar to John, The Baptist, who was prepared and prepared the way before The Christ, who began His/The Gospel Mission. The two, one on the left and the one on the right, are NOT, Elijah, Mosses, or Enoch, which many stumble on in confusion.

    Elijah, and Enoch’s bodies have already been translated into resurrected bodies in the blink of an eye. Hence their bodies can no longer taste death as mortals.

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