Dr. Oscar T. Moses
May 12, 2019
In this passage Jesus reminded the disciples of His death burial and resurrection. There is a theme that reoccurs pertaining to the kingdom. The kingdom of God was one of Jesus’ most talked about topics, but it’s hardly a well-grasped concept for believers today. If you asked a group of people to define it, you would probably get a variety of answers. “The Kingdom of God transcends time and space.” It is Gods will in heaven being fulfilled in the hearts of men on earth. “Kingdom” means that there is a King somewhere. The Kingdom of God is where His subjects acquiesce to the will, way, word and wishes of God. It is a place where there is peace, love joy and happiness.
All of the talk about the future kingdom excited the disciples. Immediately, they began “bucking” for position in the future world to come. In Chapter 18 they began inquiring to Jesus about who would be the “greatest in the kingdom”?
In chapter 20, all of the talk about the kingdom and God’s throne became a promotional perk for the disciples. They wanted to be their, in plush position, because they were with Jesus when he got His mission off of the ground. They wanted preferential treatment. They wanted status and prestige. This is how we enter into this text. The disciples wanted fame and notability so much that they would go through great lengths to get it. Some scholars believe that this text is two brothers exploiting their mother as a pawn to gain leverage on their eternal reward. So much so, that they would use their mother to help their eternal influence.
Tell me what you think. All of this talk about the future glory of the kingdomwas enough to make the disciples ecstatic, so much so that they would engage their mother, as a means of influence to give them status. I tell you, a mother’s love goes a long way!
I have seen mothers lie for their kids, pay money for their kids, end marriages for their kids…. Momma will even put her life and reputation on the line for her kids. Such was the case in our text.
Jesus had been talking about the kingdom, it’s splendor and its prestige and His time of death was drawing near. Imagination suggests, that two of his disciples, James and John had ambition to have seats of honor in the kingdom. One wanted to be Vice-President and the other wanted to be Secretary of State. So pehaps they put their momma up to the arduous task of trying to persuade Jesus on their behalf. Are we clear? So by the time of the text they have already expressed to their momma their hearts desire and any good momma wanted the best for her kids. Lets Fast forward.
As Jesus and the 12 made their way up to Jerusalem, Jesus once again reminded the disciples that he would be severely persecuted, killed, buried but on the third day He would be resurrected from the dead. It was about that time that the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, brought them to Jesus, worshipping himand respectfully asked a favor. Her name is Salome. Jesus asked her, “What is your request?” She said without blinking, “Give your word that these two sons of mine will be awarded the highest places of honor in your kingdom, one at your right hand, one at your left hand.” Jesus responded, “You have no idea what you’re asking.” And he said to James and John, “Are you capable of drinking the cup that I’m about to drink?” They said, “Sure, why not?” Jesus said, “Come to think of it, you are going to drink my cup. But as to awarding places of honor, that’s not my business. My Father is taking care of that.”
In the earlier part of this chapter Jesus had just taught the disciples that heaven is Gods business… and here comes James and Johns mother asking Jesus for seating privileges. Before we get down on Salome let’s look at the good qualities about her.
Number one, verse 20 says she came to Jesus with her sons and worshipped Him. She was a mother that understood that Jesus was worthy of worship. Mothers there should be times when your child sees that you have a relationship with God. They should see you praying sometimes. Salome demonstrated worship before the Lord but she also demonstrates worship before her children. This mother had no problem with worshipping Jesus while her children saw her. You wonder why church is so dry and cold sometimes? Not enough mothers worshipping in front of their children and therefore, the children think that worship is strange. They need to see the visibility of your faith in Jesus. The lesson today is… your children will deem important what you deem important. If prayer, bible study, coming to church, honoring Godly leadership, and praising God is not important to you; it will not be important to them. How you act in front of your child is an investment. I’m tired if seeing mothers out in the street with head rags and shower caps on with skin tight stretch pants so tight you can see every dimple in their behinds, smoking a blunt and cursing like a sailor. You wonder why youth have no respect today? It’s because a childs first teacher is their parents.
She desired something from the Lord and Jesus asked her, “What do you want?” Her desire (EXPECTATION) was that her sons would be elevated when they got to the kingdom. She wanted them to have a place of honor in the kingdom. Every mother should want her child to be close to Jesus.
A discussion began. Jesus turned to the sons and asked them,“Can you drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”They responded, “We can do that.”They had no idea that they could not withstand one drop of what was in Jesus’ cup. All the sins of the world were in that cup. He concluded this passage by saying, “Come to think of it, you are going to drink my cup. But as to awarding places of honor, that’s not my business. My Father is taking care of that.” They both would suffer before they got to the kingdom but their suffering would pale in comparison to Jesus’ suffering. James would be killed and John would be banished to a lonely island. God has the final say as to who will sit by Jesus.
The point is she wanted the best eternity for her children. She loved them beyond the grave. There is some mother here today or mother figure. This passage teaches us how a mother makes an investment in her child.
The question is; What is a good investment for a parent to make for their child; stocks and bonds, top schools of academia; Ivy League or the sophisticated “Black Bourgeoisie” HBCU’s? What about piano lessons, dance lessons, or art lessons that can assist in future career choices; or a 529 plan that helps college students pay off tuition debt or braces to invest in a beautiful smile. Most good parents want the best investment for their children. An investment is made with the idea of a positive future return. You don’t get the benefit of an investment now but you get it later. An investment does not benefit you right away but one day it pays off.
I have seen little babies with diamonds, $200.00 gym shoes, wearing Gucci, Prada and other name brand items but that’s not an investment; that’s an asinine expense. My point this morning is this: Every investment mentioned heretofore and some not mentioned will do a child good as long as they are alive but when they are dead none of those assets will matter; no amount of money, education, skill training or business smarts will matter when the child is dead. The only investment a parent can make that matters after death is salvation.
The question for mother’s today is do you love your child beyond the grave because if you do you would be willing to invest in your child’s salvation. What we need today are godly mothers that love their children beyond the grave; that will not just love their children to death but will love them to eternal life.
Here’s the walk away points.
- Mothers Don’t Hide Your Faith (Demonstration)– (Don’t be ashamed to worship). Her Faith in Jesus Was Visible:Salome had a relationship with Jesus that was transparent. She worshipped Jesus.
- Have Eternal Expectations for Your Children (Expectations)– There was a time when mother’s had higher expectations for their children concerning their relationship with Christ. I came from a generation where church was not an option it was mandatory. I came from a generation where parents told their children who Jesus was in hopes that they would establish a relationship with them. Even when I went off to college, no matter how late I burned the midnight oil, I could not sleep on Sunday mornings comfortably because my mother expected for me to get up and tell the Lord “thank you” in the House of the Lord not by watching a television program or Facebook.
- Love Them Beyond the Grave (Motivation)– She may have been out of line but she was concerned about their eternity. Her love motivated her to want them to get to heaven. Eternal love is sacrificial love. She did not ask for her seat but for her children -– Mother loved them even though they might have urged her to make the request to come before Jesus and just ask; even though they were egotistical, self centered, arrogant. She loved them even when no one else could stand them. This momma demonstrates that she has some interest in her children’s eternal security. What a tragedy it would be for momma to get to heaven and not see her children! She has compassion. (I want to leave the text for a minute with a casual caveat.) Compassion does not erase Correction.As a matter of fact they go hand in hand. There are some mothers that raise their daughters and love their sons. If you really love your child you must correct them when they are wrong. I come from the school where my mother said, “Wherever you show out I’m going to let you have it right there.”Proverbs 13:24says, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”
Why does this matter? Because…
Your Life’s Demonstration Influences Your Childs Eternal Destination
Don’t miss calvary in this text. Jesus’s death was a demonstrationof love. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that we may have eternal life. We don’t deserve it. Its because of the grace of God. Calvary brought with it expectations.It brought us the hope of holding on in hard times. Calvary brought with it motivation.Jesus loved us beyond the grave. He rose on the third day morning with all power in His hands and because He got up one day we will get up too. Mother, one day we will sit in heavenly places. You don’t have to worry about whether your child sits on the right our left. Here it is! Make sure you get in and your children get in. If you get there before they do tell them don’t look for you on the right or left, that’s up to God.
Dr. Oscar T. Moses