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Answering The Atheist
May 6, 2007 / Volume 7, Issue 18

Who asked Jesus for the best seats in heaven? Was it James and John (Mark 10:35-37) or their mother (Matthew 20:20-21)? Is there a contradiction?

In the "Got the Gimmies" episode of The Berenstain Bears, the Bear family was at the grocery store. The youngsters wanted some candy, so Brother Bear told Sister to ask Mama. Sister told Brother to ask Mama. When they came to Mama, it ended up that they both asked her if they could have the candy.

Who asked? One might comment, 'Brother Bear asked Mama Bear for the candy,' and be correct. Another might say, 'Sister Bear asked Mama Bear for the candy,' and that too is correct. Both are true statements, and taken together, they give us the full picture of what took place.

In the case of whom asked Jesus for a place of prominence in the Lord's kingdom, Mark says that it was James and John who asked. Matthew, on the other hand, says that their mother asked. Is it not plausible that all three came together and made inquiry of the Lord with regard to the positions on His right and left hand in the kingdom?

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible