Mom Wants Sons to be Greatest ( by Carley Evans )


A mother wants the best for her child. She sees her child’s flaws, but she relishes her child’s abilities above and beyond those minor problems. Sometimes a mother does more than her children expect her to do, pushing ahead in an effort to be supportive or of assistance.

The mother of the sons of Zebedee finds Jesus. She kneels at His feet, and points to her two sons. Jesus asks, “What is it you want?” She says to Him that she wants one of her sons to sit at His left hand while the other son sits at His right hand “in [His] kingdom.” (Matthew 20:21)

This mother intervenes for her children. She asks the Lord, the Son of God, for special treatment for her two sons. Jesus does not speak to her; instead He turns to her sons, first telling them they have no idea what is being expected of them by their mother. He then asks, “Can you drink the cup I Am going to drink?” (Matthew 20:22) Each man says that he can. Likely neither wants to disappoint a loving mother. Jesus acknowledges that they are indeed going to drink of His cup, but that the two places “belong to those for whom they are prepared by My Father.” (Matthew 20:23)

Nothing more is said of the sons of Zebedee in regards to their response to this. Nothing more is said of their mother. However, when hearing of the request, the other ten disciples “are indignant with the two brothers.” (Matthew 20:24) Jesus calls everyone together and tells them about rulers and high officials lording over others with authority. Jesus says, “Not so with you.” (Matthew 20:26)

Jesus tells His disciples the secret to greatness is being a servant, even a slave to others. He reveals His own greatness is due to His willingness to serve rather than be served, and “to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

The mother of the sons of Zebedee does not know what she is asking.

Father God, help us to set aside our ambitions and serve one another in love. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

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You Don’t Have Any Fish (by Carley Evans)


Part 2 of this morning’s post: A Mighty Big Piece of Wood.

Jesus calls out to Peter, “Twin,” the sons of Zebedee, Nathaniel, and two other disciples who are out in a boat on the Sea of Tiberas, fishing. Jesus says to them, “You don’t have any fish, do you?”

Fishing is what Peter does for a living — well, what he does for a living before he becomes a fisher of men. At any rate, Peter is skilled at catching fish. Likely Peter has fished since he was a toddler with his father or uncles or brothers.

Jesus is telling His disciples what they ought to know already — they don’t have anything.

Once back on shore, Jesus offers them a breakfast of fish and bread, both of which He provides. The 153 fish Peter and the others catch on the right side of the boat — once Jesus tells them to drop their net on that side — are extra provisions provided by none other than Jesus.

So, the fish on the fire and the fish in the net are not from the efforts of the fishermen. As Jesus rhetorically asks, “You don’t have any fish, do you?”

Thank You heavenly Father for providing everything we need for our salvation, our sanctification, our glorification. You are all we have and all we need. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

A Mighty Big Piece of Wood (by Carley Evans)


“That’s a mighty big cross you have there, but the question is — do you have faith, Charlie?”

The ultimate question — what good does the cross of Jesus Christ do you without a personal faith in Him as Lord and Savior? The obvious answer — no good at all.

Anyone can hold up the cross against evil, but only the one who holds it up in belief can overcome. The cross is only a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice, and in and of itself has no power.

After Jesus’ resurrection, He appears on shore of the Sea of Tiberias at daybreak. Simon Peter, “Twin”, Nathaniel of Cana, the Zebedee’s sons and two other disciples are there. Peter up and decides to go fishing. Everyone says, “We’re going with you.” They all go out in the boat, but catch nothing. From the shore, Jesus calls out to them, “You don’t have any fish, do you?” They do not recognize Him, but they say, “no” anyway. He tells them to cast their net on the right side of the boat. So Simon Peter and the others do what this stranger tells them. And they catch a “large number of fish,” so many “they are unable to haul it in.” And the disciple whom Jesus loves, says to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Peter, who has no clothes on, ties his outer garment around him, leaps into the water, and presumably swims to shore. The other disciples come in the boat, dragging the large catch.

When they reach shore, Jesus is sitting at a charcoal fire cooking fish on it. And He has bread, too! He invites them to have breakfast.

No one dares to ask, “Who are you?” because they know it is the Lord. (John 21:1-14, HCSB)

I can imagine there was an order to the recognition of Jesus by the disciples. Obviously the disciple Jesus loves is the first to know Him, then likely Peter. After that, I wouldn’t venture a guess. Until each believes, he does not recognize the Lord. It does not matter that the other disciples know Jesus; each must recognize Him for himself.

A personal faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior gives the cross its power over evil; otherwise the cross is “just a big piece of wood.”

Stay Awake, Pray; Get Up, Let’s Go


Today — still exhausted from my trip and lack of sleep last night — I kept thinking about Peter and the two sons of Zebedee falling asleep while Jesus agonizes in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus has asked them to “sit here while I go over there and pray.” (Matthew 26:36, HCSB) I can imagine Peter sitting down on the ground, perhaps leaning against a tree while Jesus grows ever more “sorrowful and deeply distressed.” (Matthew 26:37) About this time, Peter and the sons of Zebedee must be somewhat bewildered. Why is the Son of God so distressed?

Jesus says, “My soul is swallowed up in sorrow — to the point of death.” (Matthew 26:38) Such deep sorrow is imaginable for us, who have experienced the loss of a child, a parent, a dear friend, a spouse — these sorts of sorrows we understand. Jesus is facing utter isolation as well as intense physical suffering. No wonder He “falls facedown and prays, ‘My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me.'” (Matthew 26:39) No wonder He is disturbed when He finds Peter and the others asleep rather than keeping watch with Him. He commands, gently I am certain, “Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation.” (Matthew 26:41)

He goes away to pray again. When He returns, He finds Peter and the sons of Zebedee asleep, “because they can not keep their eyes open.” (Matthew 26:43) Right now, I can barely keep my eyes open. I understand physical and mental exhaustion. Peter doesn’t fully grasp what it is that they are doing in the garden. Why are they sitting there? Why is Jesus in such agony? The third time Jesus goes away and comes back to find Peter and the disciples asleep, He tells them, “Look the time is near. The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up; let’s go! See, My betrayer is near.” (Matthew 26:45-46) I imagine Peter and the others scramble to their feet right quick at that message from Jesus.

And when Judas appears to kiss Jesus, “one of those with Jesus reaches out his hand and draws his sword. He strikes the high priest’s slave and cuts off his ear.” (Matthew 26:51) Now the disciples spring into action when earlier they are unable to remain awake to watch with Jesus even for an hour.

Notice how “get up, let’s go” is easier than “stay awake; pray.” Such is human nature. Doing is easier than watching. Keeping busy seems more desirable than sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening. Won’t you keep watch with Jesus for an hour.