Mark 10:40 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Mark 10:40, NIV: but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.'

Mark 10:40, ESV: but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

Mark 10:40, KJV: But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.

Mark 10:40, NASB: But to sit on My right or on My left is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.'

Mark 10:40, NLT: But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. God has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen.'

Mark 10:40, CSB: But to sit at my right or left is not mine to give; instead, it is for those for whom it has been prepared."

What does Mark 10:40 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Matthew notes that the positions of honor which James and John ask for are already designated by God the Father (Matthew 20:23). We have seen how He chose Samson (Judges 13:2–5) and John the Baptist (Luke 1:5–17) before they were born. We know that He chooses who will be saved (Ephesians 1:4). Jesus specifically chose the Twelve to be His disciples (Mark 3:13–19) and Paul to be an apostle (Acts 9:1–19). The Holy Spirit even chooses who will have what gifts to serve the church (Ephesians 4:11–12; 1 Corinthians 12:7). So, as God looks out over all human history with one glance, it's evident that He works directly in that history, and invites us to join His work in different ways. We need to focus on listening for His call in our own lives and making sure we answer "yes."

James and John assume that their closeness to Jesus combined with their willingness to sacrifice much and work hard for His kingdom will earn them high positions. This is the way of the world, including the province of Israel. In the church age, honor, importance, and authority do not necessarily go together (1 Corinthians 12:22–25). Leaders are servants (John 13:3–16). Unlike many of the kings of Israel and Judah, only those who first honor their wives and lead their families well may lead the church (1 Timothy 3:2–5).

Soon, however, there will be two men chosen to be at Jesus' right and left hand. But they are men the disciples could never have imagined: two thieves (Mark 15:27). They will literally pick up their crosses and be crucified with Christ, but this will not guarantee them positions in heaven. Great suffering does not earn us salvation, just as it does not earn us positions of authority in the church. Although both thieves suffered, the only one to see paradise was the one who recognized he was as powerless as a child (Mark 10:15) and placed his trust in Jesus (Luke 23:39–43).