Friday, August 1, 2014

Called Give (3 of 3)

Parts 1 and 2 discussed the nature of the request made by James, John, and their mother. But what about their thought process in asking. Consider a common phrase in our culture – “It's all about who you know.” Well, that same thought may have been behind the demand of James, John, and their mother. Because if anyone had a claim to Jesus, it was James and John – as cousins of Jesus?!?

Many know that John the Baptist was a cousin of Jesus. But it is quite possible that the sons of Zebedee were as well. Let me show you.

John 19.25 lists either three or four women – depending upon if you think that Mary the wife of Clopas is also Mary's sister. This is possible, but it is unlikely that two sisters would have the same name. Therefore, I see four women. Mary (Jesus' mother), her sister, Mary (Clopas' wife), and Mary Magdelene. Matt 27.56 mentions Zebedee's wife and Mark 15.40 mentions a woman named Salome was there. Thus,
  • Jesus mother, Mary, had a sister present at the cross (John 19.25).
  • A woman named Salome is present at the cross (Mark 15.40).
  • The wife of Zebedee is present at the cross (Matthew 27.56).

If this woman is one and the same, then Salome is Mary's sister. She is also Zebedee's wife. And thus, as the mother of James and John, she is Jesus' aunt which makes James and John the cousins of Jesus.

Other instances in Scripture might help us understand this further. One example is when Peter and Andrew leave their boats so easily to follow Jesus. Scripture says they were fishing partners of James and John – so they would have heard stories about family gatherings and such.

But more importantly to this story, if this woman is Jesus' aunt, it would help us understand why she was willing to approach Him with this request. Imagine the conversations her and Mary must have had over the years.

But was she using her relationship to get an edge with Jesus? Was she using it to get for herself (and family) or to receive for the benefit of others?

What about you? Who do you say Jesus is? How do you respond to His gift? How do you respond to the gift of church membership – a membership bought and paid for by Jesus?

Do you consider your membership, or even your salvation as something to which you are entitled? Or do you see them as a gift from God that He can use to then bless others? Repeating the question from Part 1:

Do you want what God gives, or do you want God?

When we are focused on what we get from God, then we are less likely to give what we have away. If we are focused on God, then we will become consumed with giving of ourselves to others.

So, what will you commit to giving to Jesus – this week? This year? The rest of your life?

My gift to Jesus this week:
My gift to Jesus for the rest of this year:
My gift to Jesus for the rest of my life: