Summary: A mother’s day look at Salome mother of James and John
She was a mom and like any other mom, all she really wanted was for her kids to do good. And the fact that her kids were both grown men really wasn’t all that relevant. She still wanted them to do good, and she would do whatever she needed to do to make sure they did good. Including talking to their boss if she had to.
Her name was Salome and she is only mentioned 3 times in the bible . The first was in the scripture that Karen read this morning. You know the story, it’s the last week in Jesus ministry, his twelve apostles have followed him for three years, they’ve watched as he preached about the coming kingdom, they saw him heal the lame, they watched him restore sight to the blind and they were there when he silenced his critics. And now in the final days, Salome, the mother of James and John comes with this request that her sons would have places of honour in the coming kingdom. By asking that one would sit on the right, and the other on the left she was asking for the two highest positions under Christ.
Now we’ve all heard Salome criticized for what she asked. Some have said that it was a worldly request, and that she was overly ambitious for the boys, and it was selfish that she should want a better positions for her sons. But let’s back up just a little bit and ask what mother wouldn’t want the very best for her children? Or for that matter what parent wouldn’t want the best for their kids.
Anyone catch the news from Sydney Australia concerning the summer Olympics? It seems that the Kevan Gosper the senior Olympic official in Australia was given the opportunity for his 11 year old daughter to be the first Australian Runner to carry the flame on it’s way to Sydney. The public was furious, Sydney’s tabloid Daily Telegraph devoted its entire front page to a blistering attack featuring a bold, six-line headline playing on the letters of Gosper’s name.
The headline, to the left of a photo of Gosper, spelled out Gosper from top to bottom in the first column but, reading from left to right, it said: "Greedy, Obstinate, Selfish, Pompous, Egotistic, Ruffian."
But listen to Kevan Gosper’s response: "The bottom line is it was my responsibility to protect my daughter’s rights. She had been offered, without any interference from me, to be the No 2 torch bearer."Who was I to take that away from her?" “I was looking after the best interests of my child.”
That was all Salome was doing, looking after the best interest of her children. And while the other apostles may not have understood that, certainly as parents we should be able to.
And do we know her motives? Was she asking so the boys would be in position of authority and power or was she simply asking that they would have the closest possible spots to Jesus. Something which each one of us would covet, if we were truthful.
How can we criticize Salome when Jesus didn’t criticize her? All Jesus did was question if she was aware of what she was asking for?
So who was she? Well let’s look at the three times she was mentioned in the bible. The first time was read earlier from Matthew 20:20-21 Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. “What is your request?” he asked.
She replied, “In your Kingdom, will you let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one at your right and the other at your left?”
So in that one verse we know that she was James and John’s mom. And that she was Zebedee’s wife. James and John you will recall, or maybe you won’t were among the first disciples and like Andrew and Peter were fisherman. It would appear that they were partners with their father Zebedee and had done very well at fishing because the day they decided to follow Christ we are told that they left their father fishing with the hired hands.
And so here is a woman who while she may not have been rolling in dough was probably comfortable for the point in history in which she lived.
The next time we see the lady is at the cross during the crucifixion listen to Matthew 27:56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and Zebedee’s wife, the mother of James and John. So according to Matthew who do we have here at the cross? Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and Zebedee’s Wife, the mother of James and John