Read: Matthew 20:20-28
20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favor of him. 21 And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.”
22 But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” 23 He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
24 When the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. 26 It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; 28 just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Mother’s Day is right around the corner; do you have plans to honor your mom?
Don’t forget! My mom has been gone for a couple years I’ve been thinking about “moms” lately. For many people, their mom, is the person whom they credit with helping them the most in life, in all sorts of ways. We all need parents, mentors, and role models in life – and that’s what this post is about.
So, this week, a shout-out to a mom mentioned in the gospel of Matthew, the mother of the sons of Zebedee. Her name is not given, the Bible often doesn’t name women, it unfortunately often only tells us who they are in relation to men. She is the mother of the “sons of Zebedee”, James and John, two of the most prominent and often mentioned of Jesus’ disciples. She does something that few women would have done in those days; she takes initiative and approaches Jesus seeking to persuade Him her let her two sons be prominent leaders in the administration of His future Kingdom. Every mom wants to see her kids do well in life, right?
So, were these two disciples full grown adults? It seems unlikely to me; I think they were teenagers. Jesus is between 30-33 years old during His years of ministry, favors them and spends extra time with them (prayer, teaching), i.e. on the Mount of the Transfiguration and the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus is a mentor or even a father figure to them, perhaps like a close uncle.
Digging in a little bit, in Mark 3:17 we discover that Jesus has nick-named the brothers, “the sons of thunder”. The word “thunder” here means “stormy, tumultuous”. In several places in the Gospels: Luke 9:46, Luke 22:24-27, Matthew 18:1, Mark 9:34, Jesus’ disciples argued about which of them was the greatest, and which of them would have the place of highest honor in the Kingdom of God. It sounds like the kind of arguments teenage brothers have, to me. Interestingly, Jesus doesn’t rebuke them or their ambition; Jesus is very patient with them, and revealing. He puts “glory and greatness” in proper perspective: the greatest will lead by serving others; those leading in His Kingdom will “take up a cross”, and drink from a cup of sacrifice. This scripture links two prominent days in May: Mother’s Day and Memorial Day; each day merits our respect and substantive reflection.