My mother used to refer to some people as ‘stage mothers’, I think she was making reference to women who to ask for outrageous favors on behalf of their children. Stage mothers derive their own self worth from seeing their children succeed and will often go to extreme lengths to guarantee that success. They pressure their kids and nothing is considered too excessive.They are also sometimes known as,' Tiger Moms.' I may have been guilty of some of that myself; requesting that the school district send my daughter to special school, a special bus, requesting a different teacher or a schedule change, requesting all kinds of upgrades on behalf of my kids. Currently, my high school senior is writing scholarship essays. I’m like, “ Get it, Girl!”
Recently, I was reading in John 20:20, where Mrs. Zebedee is asking a favor of Jesus. She is kneeling before him, and he says to her, “What do you want?” Now remember, her sons are James and John, Jesus’ disciples who are also known as, the ‘Sons of Thunder.’ She says to Jesus, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” (Jn. 20:21) ESV
Jesus essentially answers her by saying, “You don’t know what you’re asking”. He goes on to ask the boys, “Can you drink the cup that I am to drink?,” and something about how that those positions are not for him but for the Father to decide. And to them, I’m paraphrasing, …You guys should not be thinking about being number one, but rather how to be humble and be servants”… which of course is true.
Here’s what I realize, even though Mrs. Zebedee, who is also referred to as Salome, (Mark 16:1) was slightly misguided in her “big ask”, she was actually on the right track. I think in her heart she was trying to say, “Take my kids with you!”. I think her petition was off, but not that far off. She was a woman of intensity and passion who pushed her sons in the direction of the Jesus. she reproduced her passion in them. She had been their backer, promoter, and manager. Maybe she was the bookkeeper of Zebedee and Sons Fishing Inc.
The younger of the two was John, the disciple whom Jesus loved. John wrote the Gospel of John, the three epistles I, II and III John, and the Book of Revelation. John had the greatest revelation of Jesus as not only the Son of God, but Jesus as God. John writings weave together the beautiful relationship among the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Her older son, James, was also one of Jesus original disciples.That’s pretty cool.
Later, we read that Mrs. Zebedee was at the crucifixion, when Jesus was dying on the cross, he commended his mother, Mary to John, “Behold your mother,” and to Mary he said, “Behold your son.” Mrs. Zebedee was probably a part of John’s household too, receiving Mary into her home, to share her kitchen and Mrs. Z. was also at the empty tomb.This woman was there during the life of Jesus, supporting, encouraging, facilitating, maybe even cooking.
So here we are, promoting our loved ones, producing people who love God, and are poised to see him work, even if at times it seems a little presumptuous. I look at Mrs. Z., it looks like we’re in good company! Actually, many people can be seen all throughout scripture taking risks and believing for God to move. The woman at the well shouldn’t technically been allowed to talk to Jesus. She was a Samarian, a half breed. The woman with the issue of blood wasn’t clean enough to touch Jesus, but she was desperate, as was the Canaanite woman who’s daughter needed deliverance. She said, “even dogs get to eat crumbs from the table.” Jesus responded to the faith of these women. We too are teaching our kids to expect and pursue God’s favor, and that may just be the definition of good mothering! In fact, I think God wants us to use our influence to promote godliness, not only with our own kids, but in those in our churches and our communities too. So go ahead, feel free to ask for big things on behalf of those you love. In fact, intercede with God himself. After all, that’s what Mrs. Zebedee did.