Ellen G. White Writings

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Conflict and Courage, Page 314

A Fond Mother's Request, November 4

Matthew 20:20-28

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. Revelation 3:21.

James and John presented through their mother a petition requesting that they might be permitted to occupy the highest positions of honor in Christ's kingdom. Notwithstanding Christ's repeated instruction concerning the nature of His kingdom, these young disciples still cherished the hope for a Messiah who would take His throne and kingly power in accordance with the desires of men....

But the Saviour answered, “Ye know not what ye ask. 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.” They would count it highest honor to prove their loyalty by sharing all that was to befall their Lord.

“Ye shall drink indeed of My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with,” Christ declared.... James and John were to be sharers with their Master in suffering—the one, destined to swift-coming death by the sword; the other, longest of all the disciples to follow his Master in labor and reproach and persecution. “But to sit on my right hand, and on my left,” He continued, “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. It is not earned, nor is it received through an arbitrary bestowal. It is the result of character. The crown and the throne are the tokens of a condition attained—tokens of self-conquest through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ....

The one who stands nearest to Christ will be he who has drunk most deeply of His spirit of self-sacrificing love,—love that “vaunteth not itself, ... seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil,”—love that moves the disciple, as it moved our Lord, to give all, to live and labor and sacrifice even unto death, for the saving of humanity.5The Acts of the Apostles, 541-543.

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