Today’s Scripture Reading: Matthew 20:1-6, Mark 10:32-34, Matthew 20:17-19, Luke 18:31-34, Mark 10:35-45, Matthew 20:20-34, Mark 10:46-52, Luke 18:35-19:27
Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. “What is your request?” he asked.
She replied, “In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left.”
But Jesus answered by saying to them, “You don’t know what you are asking! Are you able to drink from the bitter cup of suffering I am about to drink?” –Matthew 20: 20-22
In Jewish and Roman circles the indirect intercession of a motherly woman was often more effective than a man’s direct petition for himself (see also 2 Sam 14:2–20; 1 Kings 1:15–21; cf. 2 Sam 20:16–22). Because James and John were in Jesus’ presence when their Mom made this request, she may have asked this question at the request of her sons. (The IVP Bible Background Commentary)
At first glance this Mom looks like an ambitious, controlling, and prideful woman who wanted her sons to be exalted above everyone else.
I wonder if what this Mom really wanted was…
- To make her sons happy
- For her sons to be seen as a god
- For her sons to have a higher position than the other disciples
- To be seen as the mother who birthed and raised two sons of greatness
Maybe she just wanted her sons to be close to Jesus.
Isn’t that what every Christian mom wants for her children?
I know it’s definitely what I wanted and still want for my children. When my kids were toddlers I dreamed of them being leaders in the youth group or singing on the praise team and then growing up to be world changers for Jesus… preachers or missionaries.
I’m sure I prayed and asked Jesus to make my desires happen. I wonder if Jesus thought the same thing about my requests that he did of James and John’s Mom’s request.
Dianne, you don’t know what you are asking!
Just like the mother of James and John, many mothers in today’s world misguidedly seek places of honor and greatness for their children.
Jesus used this occasion to teach James and John’s mom and every mom what true greatness means.
He showed us by His
• Willingness to suffer (Matthew 20:22–23)
• Willingness to serve (Matthew 20:24–28)
Christ’s warning that his apostles would suffer for his sake (Matthew 20:23) was fulfilled. All of them experienced great trials, and all except John suffered violent deaths. [Mark 10:35–45] (Wilmington’s Bible Handbook)
No Mom wants her children to suffer; our desire is to keep our kids from suffering.
Jesus, teach us about real greatness. Help us to point our children and grandchildren to Your example of greatness. Holy Spirit, convict us of our own pride and self-interest, as it relates to our desires for our children. Help us to lead by example in our own desires for greatness.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen and Amen!
© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 14:3-9, Matthew 26:6-13, John 12:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Matthew 21:1-11, Luke 19:28-40, John 12:12-19, Luke 19:41-44, John 12:20-36