Summary: "Mrs. Zebedee," the mother of James & John, gets a bad rap for her request to Jesus for prominent places in Christ's kingdom. Actually, Mrs. Zebedee demonstrates some good qualities for mothers on Mother’s Day to emulate. This sermon looks at them.

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Mrs. Zebedee

Chuck Sligh

May 8, 2016

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The outline and most of the introduction are adapted from a sermon by Melvin Newman titled Mother’s Day - A Mother’s Love found on

TEXT: Turn to Matthew 20 and we will read verses 20-23 a little later.


A. Illus. – Someone wrote,

Mother’s Day is traditionally the day when children give something back to their mothers for all the spit they produce to wash dirty faces, all the old gum they held in their hands, all the noses they wiped, and all the bloody knees they ‘made well’ with their kisses

This is the day mothers are rewarded for washing sheets in the middle of the night, driving kids to school when they missed the bus, and enduring all those football and soccer games in the rain. It’s a day of appreciation for making your children finish something they said they couldn’t do, not believing them when they said, ‘I hate you,’ and sharing their good times and their bad.

What are mothers? Well, mothers are teachers. Mothers are disciplinarians. Mothers are cleaning ladies. Some mothers are gardeners and mowers of lawns. Mothers are nurses and doctors and psychologists and counselors and chauffeurs and coaches.

Mothers are developers of personalities, molders of vocabularies, and shapers of attitudes. Mothers are soft voices saying, “I love you.” And mothers are a link to God, a child’s first impression of God’s love. Mothers are all these things and much, much more.

Illus. – The late columnist Erma Bombeck told of God in the act of creating mothers. She says that on the day God created mothers He had already worked long overtime. I think I missed that somewhere in the book of Genesis, but bear with me a minute. An angel said to Him, “Lord, you sure are spending a lot of time on this one.”

The Lord said, “Have you read the specs on this model? She’s supposed to…have 180 moving parts. She is to have a kiss that will heal everything from a broken leg to a broken heart. She is to have a lap that will disappear whenever she stands up. She is to be able to function on black coffee and leftovers. And she is supposed to have six pairs of hands.”

“Six pairs of hands?!” said the angel, “that’s impossible.”

“It’s not the six pairs of hands that bother me,” said the Lord, “It’s the three pairs of eyes. She’s supposed to have one pair that sees through closed doors so that whenever she says, ‘What are you kids doing in there?’ she already knows what they’re doing in there. She has another pair in the back of her head to see all the things she is not supposed to see but must see. And then she has one pair right in front that can look at a child that just goofed up and communicate love and understanding without saying a word.”

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