Then came to him the mother of Zebedees children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.…
It is certainly surprising to find James and John presenting such a request as this. We cannot but think that they ought to have known their Lord better. If any of the apostolic company had insight of their Master's spiritual mission, it surely was the first group, which included James and John. Perhaps Matthew lets the light in when he explains that they were prompted by their mother. "Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him." If it was her idea, we can understand it. Woman-like, she was practical; she understood only the material aspect of Messiah's mission; and she had not come into such association with Christ as served to correct and spiritualize her ideas; and she knew the value of forethought, of "taking time by the forelock," and so she schemed to secure an early promise of the best places in the new kingdom for her sons. A motherly mother indeed!
I. WORTHY MOTHERLY AMBITIONS. Illustrate how directly the great men, in all the various spheres of life, have been dependent on their mothers. Explain the ambition in the heart of every Jewish mother to become the mother of Messiah. A possible poet, artist, thought leader, statesman, age reformer, hero, is in every child that lies on woman's bosom; and she is a poor mother who does not look into her child's face, and dream for him high position and ennobling influence in the days of unfolded manhood. But ambitions are not worthy that rest with worldly success. True motherhood is more anxious that the child shall be worthy of success, than that he should win success. Character alone is the worthy ambition. Mothers aim at nobility and piety.
II. MISTAKES MOTHERLY AMBITIONS. These are illustrated in the passage before us. This mother wanted office, rank, and wealth. In these days motherhood often aims at imperfect and unworthy things. Illustrate by the modern despising of trade, and pressing of the sons into overstocked professions; despising of retail trade, and pressing into overstocked wholesale commerce; or by anxiety to secure advantageous marriage settlements. A child's material well being is a proper subject of motherly concern; but moral and spiritual character and health ought always to be held as the supreme things. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.