From Heaven With Love


Chapter 60—What Is the Highest Position?

This chapter is based on Matthew 20:20-28; Mark 10:32-45; Luke 18:31-34.

Passover was drawing near, and again Jesus turned toward Jerusalem. In His heart was the peace of perfect oneness with the Father's will, and with eager steps He pressed on toward the place of sacrifice. But a sense of mystery, of doubt and fear, fell upon the disciples. The Saviour “went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid.” HLv 363.1

Again Christ opened to the Twelve His betrayal and sufferings: “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For He shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: and they shall scourge Him, and put Him to death: and the third day He shall rise again. And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” HLv 363.2

Had they not just before proclaimed everywhere, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand”? Had not Christ Himself given to the Twelve the special promise of positions of high honor in His kingdom? And had not the prophets foretold the glory of the Messiah's reign? In the light of these thoughts, His words in regard to betrayal, persecution, and death seemed vague and shadowy. Whatever difficulties might intervene, they believed that the kingdom was soon to be established. HLv 363.3

John and his brother James had been among the first group who had forsaken home and friends to be with Him. Their hearts seemed linked with His, and in the ardor of their love they longed to be nearest to Him in His kingdom. At every opportunity, John took his place next to the Saviour, and James longed to be honored with as close connection with Him. HLv 363.4

Their mother had ministered to Christ freely of her substance. With a mother's love and ambition for her sons, she coveted for them the most honored place in the new kingdom. Together mother and sons came to Jesus. HLv 364.1

“What would ye that I should do for you?” He questioned. HLv 364.2

“Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on Thy right hand, and the other on the left, in Thy kingdom.” HLv 364.3

Jesus read their hearts. He knew the depth of their attachment to Him. Their love, though defiled by the earthliness of its human channel, was an outflowing from the fountain of His own redeeming love. HLv 364.4

“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 recalled His mysterious words, pointing to trial and suffering, yet answered confidently, “We are able.” HLv 364.5

“Ye shall drink indeed of My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with,” He said. John and James were to share with their Master in suffering; the one, first of the brethren to perish with the sword; the other, longest of all to endure toil and persecution. HLv 364.6

“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.” In the kingdom of God, position is not gained through favoritism, nor received through arbitrary bestowal. It is the result of character. The crown and the throne are tokens of a condition attained through our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who stands nearest to Christ will be he who on earth has drunk most deeply of the spirit of His self-sacrificing love—love that moves the disciple to give all, to live and labor and sacrifice, even unto death, for the saving of humanity. HLv 364.7

The ten were much displeased. The highest place in the kingdom was just what every one of them was seeking for himself, and they were angry that the two disciples had gained a seeming advantage over them. HLv 365.1

Jesus said to the indignant disciples, “Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you.” HLv 365.2

In the kingdoms of the world, position meant self-aggrandizement. The people existed for the benefit of the ruling classes. Wealth and education were means of gaining control of the masses. The higher classes were to think, decide, and rule; the lower, to obey and serve. Religion, like all things else, was a matter of authority. HLv 365.3