June 25

Text: Matthew 20:20, 21

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Him with her sons, bowing down, and making a request of Him.  And He said to her, "What do you wish?" She *said to Him, "Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left." (NASB)

The ideas we have to gain advantage!  With many, position is everything!

These verses give insight into two things.  (1) What the disciples’ ultimate objective was in their discussions about greatness and importance.  (2) The disciples’ concept of the nature of the kingdom.

If the incident these verses introduce is chronological occurring after Jesus’ private conversation with these men about his death and resurrection, the verses increase in fascination.  The disciples still do not understand what will happen.  They still refuse to consider the possibility of Jesus’ death.  How can a man with his power die?  If you can raise the dead are you not beyond dying?  Who could kill him?

To the disciples, Jesus will become the literal King of Israel.  Logically (to them) they will be his advisors.  Their position in proximity to Jesus’ throne will indicate their importance.  Thus, the greatest of them will sit next to Jesus’ throne.

It was essential for each to appear to be superior to the rest!  (Consider the foot washing incident in John 13:3-11.)  Humble service was not the key to advancement—no matter what Jesus said!  It simply did not work that way!

Zebedee’s sons were not competing fairly!  They had their mother to ask Jesus to allow James and John to sit next to his throne.  In their society, it is doubtful she would ask if the men had not requested her action.  Thus, they sought to end the discussion in their favor by working through their mother. 

Suggestion for reflection: Do you view what happens in church buildings as a competition?  (Read Philippians 2:5-8.)

David's Home Page Previous Day Index Next Day

 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell