Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Him and said, “Teacher, we want You to do something for us if we ask You.”
“What do you want Me to do for you? He asked them.
They answered Him, “Allow us to sit at Your right and at Your left in Your glory.”
With a shout Jesus descended, His angels around,
And gathered His faithful from the sea, sky, and ground.
“Who will sit by His sword-pierced side?”
Was a question raised far and wide.
James turned to John, “Dear brother, surely that honor belongs to you.
Many years you toiled, the gospel to carry,
And to you Jesus entrusted the care of His beloved mother Mary.”
“No brother,” John replied, “that honor is far too great for me,
To sit next to our Jesus, the slain Lamb so holy.”
John looked at James, his eyes tender and true,
“But my dear brother,” he exclaimed, “may it be you!
You were killed by King Herod’s sword
For boldly following our dear Lord.”
James simply shook his head,
“But remember, John,” he said, “that Passover night I turned and fled?
Our Jesus was taken, beaten, mocked, and tried,
Yet all I could do was run and hide.
Oh no, I am not worthy to sit by His precious side.”
So James and John went to their friend Peter.
“Old friend,” John said, “many years we spent as fisherman by the sea,
Until that day when Jesus called you, James, Andrew, and me.
Right then we cast our nets aside
And abandoned that familiar shore’s tide.
We walked and talked as Jesus healed and taught.
Oft’ we were terrified and confused,
And you, dear Peter, never stopped and mused.
Yet the true identity of Jesus you were the first to unlock,
And from that day you were known as Peter, the ‘Rock.’
Sometimes you did get on our nerves,
But to sit next to His side, you truly deserve.”
Peter instead boisterously cried,
“Friends, my dear brothers in Christ,
Don’t you remember not once, not twice, but thrice
My Lord I did deny.
That seat is far too great for a lowly fisherman such as I.
But there is another whose eyes the Lord did open
And for our Savior he was beaten and broken.”
Peter, James, and John then approached Paul,
The man who once was formerly known as Saul.
Peter spoke on behalf of the group when he said,
“Paul my friend, fellow servant of Christ,
For His great name you suffered and bled.
You counted all things as loss
Except to know the One who hung from that cross.
Much time you spent with Timothy, Mark, and Luke
And you boldly spoke when I needed a sharp rebuke.
You proclaimed the good news to both Jews and Gentiles
And for this reason you traveled thousands of miles.
Dear Paul, you faithfully wrote the churches letter after letter,
So for these reasons, to sit next to Christ, no man could be better!”
Paul faced them, “May it never be,”
He replied. “For I am unworthy to sit next to one such as He.
‘Tis true, all my sins are forgiven by the gift of God’s grace
And for many years I did run a good earthly race.
But brothers, don’t you remember how the early church I did persecute?
This honor should go to the one who praised God with harp and lute!”
Paul then left that company of three
And went to find David, the King,
Who before the Lord would dance and sing.
“David,” Paul said, “from the time you were a shepherd boy
The Lord was your strength and your joy.
Out of all of your brothers, the Lord chose you,
So young and handsome, so brave and true.
Your music was beautiful when on the harp you did play
So King Saul sent word to your father to demand that you stay.
By faith you defeated the giant Goliath with a sling and a stone.
The Lord was with you and the light of victory shone.
Saul became jealous so you had to flee for your life.
But the Lord’s hand protected you from spear and knife.
Your victories were great and you reigned forty years.
During that time, the Lord you did truly love and fear.
To sit next to our Jesus’ side, no man could be held more dear.”
“Oh Paul,” David answered, “you never did marry, your passion controlled.
You proclaimed Jesus’ message, single and bold.
But my lust ran wild, and I slept with another’s wife.
She conceived my child, so I took that innocent man’s life.
My Lord, I do love with all my heart,
But to sit by His side I’m not fit for the part.
Instead this honor should go to the man who approached Pharaoh’s throne
And patiently led Israel with all their moans and their groans.”
David left Paul and headed for Moses,
Whom he found smelling the roses.
“Dear Moses,” David said, “your life began in a basket on the river Nile.
Discovered by Pharaoh’s daughter you did live a life of ease for awhile.
But one day from a burning bush to you the Lord spoke
And told you to lead His people out from Egypt’s heavy yoke.
To Pharaoh you went, but his heart was stubborn and hard.
Many plagues were inflicted but he would not let down his guard.
The blood of the lamb protected Israel’s firstborn
While all of Egypt wept and mourned.
After this final deathly blow,
Pharaoh did command you, ‘Just go!’
With your staff you parted the Red Sea’s waters.
Every Israelite passed through, men and women, sons and daughters.
The Lord gave to you His ordinances and Ten Commands,
While the Israelites never ceased their whines and demands.
By faith you left the wealth and treasures of Egypt behind,
And told Israel to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and mind.
The Lord’s servant, so faithful and humble, no other man like you can I find.
So please sit next to our Lord, dear Moses, because you’re one of a kind.”
“Oh David,” Moses replied, “the Lord I did daily seek
While wandering in that wilderness week after week.
But years before in a burst of anger, I lost my head
And struck an Egyptian man down dead.
In the wilderness, the Lord once I did not trust
So I twice I struck the rock with a might thrust.
That honor I must decline,
But I can think of another much more fine.
The one whom the Lord first made His covenant
Is the best choice from His faithful remnant.”
Moses told David goodbye
And went to Abraham to say hi.
“Father Abraham,” Moses said.
At the word of the Lord, you went out not knowing where you were going
And your offspring were promised a land with milk and honey flowing.
You passed a very great test
When you were told to sacrifice your son Isaac at God’s request
Your son was spared, your faith proved strong
So for you to sit by Jesus’ side is my song.”
Abraham smiled and replied,
“By faith to the land of Canaan I did roam
With my eyes fixed on heaven my true home.
But when the land became very dry
To Egypt I went and “Sarah is my sister” I did lie.
I had a son by my wife’s slave
Not trusting the Lord to fulfill His promise in His timing and way.
Thus I am unworthy by my behavior
To sit next to our sweet Savior.”
None worthy by works to sit next to Jesus’ side could be found
For it is by God’s grace upon grace that we abound.
But God, who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. By grace you are saved! He also raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavens, in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast.”