Summary: This outline takes a look at how the mother of James and John exemplified godly motherhood.
A MOTHER WHO WANTED THE BEST FOR HER CHILDREN
“Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, "What do you wish?" She said to Him, "Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom."
"But Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?"
"They said to Him, "We are able." So He said to them, "You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father." Matthew 20:20-23 (NKJV)
Let’s see how Mrs. Zebedee typified godly motherhood. SHE WAS:
A MOTHER WHO WORSHIPPED THE LORD
“came to Him…kneeling down and asking…”
1. She recognized Jesus as Lord of all…”in Your kingdom.”
2. She approached Jesus in an attitude of worship: “kneeling down”
3. She was a mother who prayed for her sons: “and asking Him”
A MOTHER WHO WANTED THE BEST FOR HER CHILDREN AND DID ALL SHE COULD TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN.
“She said to Him, ‘Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom."
1. She wanted her sons to be involved in the work of the kingdom.
2. She wanted her sons to have honor in the kingdom.
3. She wanted her sons to have responsibility in the kingdom.
A MOTHER WHO SHOWED NO PARTIALITY BETWEEN HER CHILDREN.
“Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom."
She did not recommend which of her sons should be on His right hand (the place of highest honor)…or which one should be seated on His left hand (subordinate in authority to the one on the right). This is a quality that parents should always exhibit.
The only exception to this rule is the answer a godly mother gave to the question: “Which one of your twelve children do you love best?”
She thought for a minute and said: “The one that is sick until he gets well…and the one that’s away until he gets back home.”
JESUS’ RESPONSE TO HER:
“you do not know what you ask…”
At that point in time, all of the followers of Jesus thought the kingdom would be of an earthly (rather than spiritual) nature. They thought Jesus would lead in over-throwing the Roman yoke at that time and return the throne to Israel.
This mother had no concept of a spiritual kingdom, thus the response of Jesus “you do not know what you ask.”
JESUS’ RESPONSE TO JAMES AND JOHN:
“are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?"
Jesus knew what was ahead for Him in a matter of hours: ridicule, mockery, scourging and crucifixion. He would shortly be immersed in an ocean of hate and malice. He knew, of course, what James and John would endure and suffer in their lives, but He was asking here if they felt they were equal to that. Their response, “we are able”, proved to be a most accurate one.
There is no earthly love as deep and pure as the love of a godly mother. Often that love is severely tried and tested. And sometimes there is a dear price a mother has to pay in meeting the demands of a love of that depth. Consider this family tragedy that came out of the holocaust during World War II as related by Melvin Newland in his message entitled: “A Mother’s Love” Matthew 20:20-23 (SermonCentral.com).
“The story is told – out of World War II and the holocaust that took the lives of millions of people - of Solomon Rosenberg & his family. It is a true story.
Solomon Rosenberg, his wife and their two sons; his mother and father were arrested and placed in a Nazi concentration camp. It was a labor camp and the rules were simple. "As long as you can do your work, you are permitted to live. When you become too weak to work you are exterminated."
Rosenberg watched his mother and father marched off to their deaths. He knew that his youngest son David would be next because David had always been a frail child.
Every evening Rosenberg came back into the barracks after his hours of labor and searched for the faces of his family. When he found them they would huddle together, embrace one another and thank God for another day of life.