Which Disciples Asked to Sit on Jesus Right and Left in Heaven?

The desire for power and status has always been a common trait among human beings. This was also evident among the disciples of Jesus Christ.

In the book of Mark, chapter 10, verses 35-45, we find an interesting incident where two of Jesus’ disciples asked to sit on His right and left in heaven. Let’s take a closer look at this passage.

The Request

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Jesus with a request. They said to Him, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” (Mark 10:35).

Jesus replied by asking them what they wanted Him to do for them. They then said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.” (Mark 10:37).

The Response

Jesus’ response to their request was not what they were expecting. He said to them, “You do not know what you ask.

Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Mark 10:38). James and John replied by saying that they were able.

The Cup and Baptism

What did Jesus mean when He talked about drinking His cup and being baptized with His baptism? The cup referred to the suffering that Jesus would endure on the cross.

In Matthew 26:39, Jesus prayed in Gethsemane saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will but as You will.” The baptism referred to the death that Jesus would die for our sins.

The Response of Other Disciples

When the other ten disciples heard about James and John’s request to sit on Jesus’ right and left in heaven, they were indignant. They probably felt that James and John were trying to gain an advantage over them. Jesus took this opportunity to teach them about servant leadership.

He said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.” (Mark 10:42-43)

The Lesson

Jesus used this incident as a teaching moment for His disciples. He taught them that true greatness comes from serving others, not from seeking positions of power and authority. He also reminded them that following Him would involve suffering and sacrifice.


In conclusion, the request of James and John to sit on Jesus’ right and left in heaven was driven by a desire for power and status. Jesus used this request as an opportunity to teach His disciples about servant leadership and the cost of following Him. As we follow Jesus today, let us remember that true greatness comes from serving others, just as He served us by laying down His life for us.