Every story has purpose. Yep, even yours.
Every other Monday we gather to look at women of the Bible and how their stories impact ours today. Won’t you pick one and join us?!
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Now? Let’s dig in!
*After telling many parables, we come to a few verses where Jesus predicts His death. Then, right after, we see the account of a conversation Jesus had with the wife of Zebedee, the mother of James and John.
*James and John are disciples of Jesus and there is another account of this story in Mark that does not include their mother. I encourage you to read both!
So, What Happened?
It says in Matthew 20:20 that the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus, knelt down, and asked Him a favor.
When He asked what she was requesting, she said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”
He told her in response, “You don’t know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”
At this point, the text says: “‘We can,’ they answered.” This leads me to believe her sons were present for the conversation. I wonder how they felt as she made the request on their behalf. Embarrassed? Hopeful? Surprised?
After hearing their response Jesus said, “You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.”
You know how quickly word spreads now with social media? Well among a group of 12 people who lived day in and day out with each other, there don’t appear to be many secrets. The other 10 found out about this request and were indignant. But Jesus called them all together and said these words that many of us have heard countless times – no matter what background we grew up in.
Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Sound anything like the first will be last and the last shall be first?
What Does This Mean For Me?
I often ask for things without thinking it through. I want Him to do this and fix that, but I don’t really know what I’m asking for.
What if He has something so much greater and my “best case scenario” is actually just mediocre?
As a mother, I’m sure you want the absolute best for your children. So it’s not that what she asks seems to be wrong, but instead appears that she was trying to look out for her boys. However, it needs to be said:
Are there times that we ask or beg Him for things when we don’t truly trust that He already has the best outcome in store?
I’m in this today as I write these words. It’s been one of the longest weeks of my life – recruitment has completely taken it out of me and I haven’t been able to shake a bad sickness. I’m running on barely any sleep all week, and instead of the homework that’s piled up, I find myself distracted, my mind wandering at all times. I should be sleeping or studying or many other things, but instead I’m praying.
And that sounds so holier than thou but oh, it is not.
Because as I read these verses I’m convicted by the Holy Spirit. I am asking, begging Him to do His Will in one of my friends lives…and I say I trust Him, I claim these verses in prayer, and then I find myself praying the same thing three minutes later.
I’m not saying there’s something wrong with that, because sometimes situations absolutely grip our hearts. But at some point, my prayer should shift from “God please, just please…move. Make this work out. Do what’s best for her,” to something a little more like this, “Oh God, I know You’re in control. You’ve known the plan all along and none of this has taken You by surprise. Will you be peace in this situation and peace in our hearts? I trust You, please help me trust You more. It is all part of Your perfect plan – do what brings You the most glory, no matter how the outcome appears to us.”
There’s a shift, not just in words but in attitude. It focuses less on what I want and more on Who He is.
Tonight I am shutting my mouth and allowing Him to just be God. He’s got it all, He holds it all together.
Literally. Just look up laminin.
It isn’t easy, and I’m nervous to hit publish…because I am right here in the thick of it, wrapping my mind around these verses and what they mean to me, right now.
You may not agree with this take, and to be honest, it may have jumped out to me because of the week I’ve had. But I believe there is deep truth in this:
He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He knows better than I, and therefore I must rest in the fact that He will not only hold me but also the rest of my world and the world together.
Your world, too, friend. He will hold it together.