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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Who Gets to Sit Beside Jesus?

In the New Testament, we read a mother’s story. Zebedee’s wife goes to Jesus with her sons, James and John, and asks Jesus for a favor. She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. Then, Jesus replied that they would surely suffer for Him, but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. The other disciples were angry with James and John about this, but Jesus turned the request into a teaching moment. Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Quotes are from Matthew 20:20-28.)

In the Gospel of Mark, we read more details about this same story. James and John’s mother wasn’t the only one who asked Jesus this favor. And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying … Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory (Mark 10:35a, 37).

Before we rush to condemn “the sons of thunder” or their mother, let’s look at what they’re asking in their limited understanding. First, we see their faith. In thy kingdom, and in thy glory are not “if” statements. They know Jesus will set up His heavenly kingdom. There’s no doubt in their minds. These sons want to be as close to Him as possible when it happens. What mom wouldn’t wish the same?

Would you like to be encouraged today?

The right hand in Scripture is always a symbol of favor. For example, when Jesus ascended to heaven, He sat on the right hand of God (Matthew 16:19; Ephesians 1:20, 2:5; Colossians 3:1 and many more).

But, it’s not only Christ Who sits by God in heaven. In Christ, born again Christians sit there with Him—already! But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us (made us alive) together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-7).

Yes, I’m physically sitting on the sofa in our living room. But spiritually, I’m already in Christ and seated at God’s right hand, His place of favor.

Why? Because I placed my faith in Jesus’ payment for my sins on the cross. I cried out to Him for mercy. It is all because of His love.
  • For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
  • For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13). 
  • Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5).

Are you like James and John? Do you desire to be close to the Lord in Glory?

Are you like their mother, who wanted the best for her sons?

Are you in Christ? Have you trusted Him for your soul’s salvation? Have you repented from your sins—accepting that Jesus was crucified to pay for them and rose again from the dead?

If so, you are already sitting with Christ in heavenly places. Your seat is reserved.

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne,
even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
 (Revelation 3:21)

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