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Ask Your Preacher

“Throne For A Loop”

In Matthew 19:28, Jesus said to Peter that His disciples would certainly sit on the twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  Then, in Matthew 20, the mother of John and James asked Jesus if her sons could sit on the two thrones next to Him.  In Matthew 20:23, Jesus told her that those places were reserved for the persons His Father selected.  I’m confused about this because Jesus said they would sit on the thrones.  Could you please explain this?  Thank you.


Dear Reservations,

Jesus said in Matt 19:28 that the apostles would lead the church… a concept that is reiterated in Eph 2:20, but in Matt 20:21, James and John asked for a specific level of authority – to be the two most powerful men other than Christ.  Jesus’ first answer to their question was that they had no idea what they were asking for (Matt 20:22).  As we see later in the Scriptures, leadership in God’s kingdom is a lot different than leadership in a business or politics.  It isn’t about power; it is about service (Matt 20:25-28).  James and John were looking for power – but they didn’t know what they were talking about.
The second part is that Jesus said it was the Father’s decision, not His.  That isn’t a contradiction of Matt 19:28; it is just a clause.  Jesus said they would rule, but He clarified in Matt. 20 that the apostles would rule as the Father saw fit… Jesus wasn’t in charge of that particular decision.