Scripture: Matt 20: 17-28
Key verses: (20-23) 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.”
Reflection: This scenario is not uncommon today, with “helicopter” mom’s interceding on their adult children’s behalf. Moms have been seen moving into their own apartments on college campuses for the first month of school. They have been known to enter the workplace of their adult children, demanding shorter work days or advocating for advancement. It is happening less and less with this new generation but it continues enough to be an issue. A request from any mom for their adult children is inappropriate.
The mother of James and John was demanding a prominent position in the kingdom for her children. James and John were on the front row for the transfiguration but they wanted more. Their mother made a request of Jesus that was highly inappropriate. Inappropriate because they misunderstood the nature of the kingdom. They were looking for honor, prestige and power in Christ’s kingdom. Had they not heard anything Jesus had been saying? The kingdom of God is not of this world. Jesus offers an opportunity to serve and work for justice. Jesus invites compassion and sacrifice. It was not a kingdom like any other they had known with positions or a hierarchy. This is a kingdom of peace and James and John were already at the table.
We are also invited to the party, invited to join in the work God is doing in the world to bring about the kingdom. We have some work to do, so let’s not worry about where our children get to sit.
Prayer: God, let us walk humbly in our service with your son. Amen.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].