I have this super deep love for John Mark McMillan, he is an incredible singer/songwriter and let me tell you if you have never heard of him you need to.
I want to talk about his song called “Carbon Ribs.” This my absolute favorite song by him. It is based on the story of King David and Mephibosheth (honestly my favorite name in the Bible) in 2 Samuel 9.
John Mark McMillan gives this really eloquent version of this story on his Live at the Knight album (Dialogue 3) but I’m going to give you the quick ADHD version.
Mephibosheth was son of King Jonathan and grandson of Saul.
At some point there was a change in power and in the midst of fleeing the palace, 5 year old Mephibosheth fell and broke his legs, for the rest of his life Mephibosheth was crippled.
After a change in power, the family who previously reigned was not normally treated well, so not only was Mephibosheth crippled but he was also now an outcast, most likely a beggar.
David and Jonathan were bros, bffs, besties for the resties, if you will. Years later, after Jonathan passed away, David who at this point in time was king really wanted to do something nice for Jonathan’s lineage because of his love for his late bff. David asked around to find a living member of Jonathan’s family that he could bless and he came to find Mephibosheth.
King David had Mephibosheth cleaned up, put him in nice clothes, and it was commanded that this man would have a seat at the king’s table all the days of his life.
At this point of John Mark McMillan’s telling of the story, he says something very beautiful and it’s this, “because of nothing he had done, nothing he could earn, nothing that he could deserve, but because of who his father was, the king decided to bring him up and give him a seat at the table.”
I really want you to read that quote again and really receive it.
The song’s lyrics say this “cause I’m a dead man now with a Ghost who lives within the confines of these carbon ribs and one day when I’m free I will sit, the crippled at Your table, the crippled by Your side.”
When I first heard this I cried, not out of being sad or broken or hurt or any of those things but they were tears of sweet joy.
Oh, how joyful I am to be the crippled by His side.
How thankful I am to sit at His table.
How thankful I am to be loved even though I am so obviously broken.
For nothing I have done or can do, I have been given a seat.
The song ends in a rendition of “Nothing but the Blood” and I don’t think anyone in the world could come up with a better ending to a song with that kind of message.
You have been given a seat at the King’s table.
For nothing you have done, nothing you can do,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Do not let yourself be validated by other people or the things you’ve done or the things that have been done to you because you have given a seat anyway.
You have been given a seat for the rest of your days.
The crippled by His side.