Mark 10:37 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Mark 10:37, NIV: They replied, 'Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.'

Mark 10:37, ESV: And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

Mark 10:37, KJV: They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.

Mark 10:37, NASB: They said to Him, 'Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.'

Mark 10:37, NLT: They replied, 'When you sit on your glorious throne, we want to sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.'

Mark 10:37, CSB: They answered him, "Allow us to sit at your right and at your left in your glory."

What does Mark 10:37 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus and the disciples are not traveling into dangerous territory alone. They are followed by several women (Matthew 27:55–56) and others, at least some of whom are frightened (Mark 10:32) and expect things will not go well (John 11:16). They are crossing the Perean/Judaean border, nearing Jericho, on their way to Jerusalem. When they reach Jerusalem, Jesus will mount a donkey colt and ride into the city while people spread their cloaks and palm fronds on the ground, shouting, "Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!" (Mark 11:1–10). The intent to make Jesus king has been simmering at least since the feeding of thousands outside of Bethsaida (John 6:15), and it's reasonable to assume the disciples know about it and approve.

All of this combined is why James and John have reason to think Jesus will be soon coming into His kingdom. Jesus has only recently told them, after the interaction with the rich young ruler, that the Twelve will "sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). James and John apparently want a higher seat at the proverbial table, despite Jesus' teaching that this presumption is likely to get you publicly humiliated (Luke 14:7–11).

The seat to the right of the king has long been one of an honored advisor (1 Kings 2:19; Psalm 110:1). Where Samuel says that Jonathan sat "opposite" King Saul and Abner sat "by Saul's side" (1 Samuel 20:25) the Jewish historian Josephus specifies that Jonathan sat on Saul's right and Abner on the left (Josephus, Antiquities, VI. Xi. 9).

James and John are two of Jesus' three closest friends, and they are willing to face what will come to make Jesus king (Mark 10:39). They think Jesus needs advisors, which would be correct if Jesus were "only" the Son of Man, presented with the everlasting dominion by the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:13–14). In classical Judaism, the expression "son of man" merely refers to God's limited, mortal, human creation, not the Messiah. But Jesus is also the Son of God and God. And God does not need the counsel of man (Isaiah 40:13–14; Job 40:6–41:34).