Monday, June 18, 2018


Today we are going to look at Salome, the mother of James and John, the Zebedees.  James and John were two of the twelve disciples of Jesus, and we learn through this study that Salome helped take care of them and Jesus asd He ministered to the people in the Galilean region.  John is the disciple that wrote the gospel of John and the book of the Revelation. 

Salome appears in the Scripture in Matthew and Mark.  We are going to look deeply into her story in Matthew, and we will briefly glance at her appearance in Mark. 

Read through Matthew 20:17-28. 

Matthew 20:17-28 
As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.” 

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to Him, “We are able.” He said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and oMy left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.” 

And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” 
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation 

At the beginning of this section of Scripture, Jesus is preparing His disciples for His death, burial, and resurrection.  Salome clearly knows Jesus.  She has been with Him for a lot of His ministry on Earth.  She has cared for Him, cooked for Him, cleaned for Him, and did all of those other things that mothers naturally do for people.  She has heard His teaching.  She has witnessed His miracles.  She truly believes that Jesus has come to set up His kingdom on Earth. 

Back in Matthew 19:28, Jesus told the disciples that they will sit on twelve thrones with Jesus, as He sits on His glorious throne.  Salome heard Jesus say that, and as a mother, she was ecstatic that her boys would get to sit on glorious thrones with Jesus Christ. 

As human nature shows its face, Salome asks Jesus if her boys' thrones could be the ones directly to Jesus' left and right.  She already heard that they were getting their own thrones.  But, she wanted the best thrones for them - the thrones closest to the King, the thrones that would elevate her sons above everyone else.  Salome was thinking that Jesus was going to have an earthly kingdom, and this kingdom had to be soon.  She was getting ready for the near future. 

Come on, mommas.  Don't we all want the very best for our own children?  Don't we want our children to be recognized and honored?  Of course we do.  Salome was thinking what all mothers tend to think.  She acted on what a lot of mothers would act on.  She was as human as they come, doing for her children what she thought was best. 

Jesus uses Salome's request to teach us all a very valuable lesson in leadership and servanthood.  He does not shut Salome down.  He does not criticize her for asking such a selfish question.  Instead, He teaches.  He starts off by telling her that her request is far more than what she thinks it is.  Jesus asks James and John if they are willing and able to bear the cup that is to come.  The disciples immediately answer, yes, of course!  But, they have no idea what Jesus' future is, and what their future is.  Jesus' future is to be tortured and crucified, not to go to Jerusalem and sit on a glorious throne to rule the Earth.  But they still do not understand. 

Jesus responds that the disciples will indeed drink of His cup that is to come.  And sure enough, they do.  In Acts 12:2, we learn that James was put to death by the sword.  In Revelation 1:9, we learn that John was sentenced to exile on the island of Patmos.  They both ended up facing torture and death, just as Jesus did.  But, that is still not what they were expecting in this conversation.   

As for who will sit on which throne, Jesus told them that is not His decision, but God the Father's.  And, just as Jesus said in Matthew 19, the twelve disciples are sitting on thrones in heaven.  Who is sitting where?  I guess we will just have to wait until we get to heaven to see for ourselves (come quickly, Lord Jesus!). 

But, Jesus did not leave it at that.  He taught us all a valuable lesson about leadership and servanthood in the next few verses.  Jesus shared with them that traditional rulers were just that.  They were rulers.  They commanded, and others had to listen and obey.  But, if we want to truly be great leaders, we must humble ourselves and become servants.  We must be willing to do and serve, not just rule and dictate. 

In verse 27, I see the words "just as."  This indicates a comparison.  Jesus wants us to be like Him in all we do.  Here is another clear example.  Leaders must be servants, just as Jesus was a servant to His disciples. 

If Salome had not asked her question, wanting to make sure her sons got what she thought they deserved, we would not have received this beautiful lesson on being a servant from Jesus. 

In Mark 15:40-41, we see that Salome was a witness to Jesus' death on the cross.  In Mark 16:1-8, we see that Salome was one of the women who prepared spices to put on Jesus' dead body in the tomb.  Salome was a faithful servant of Jesus.  She helped take care of Him during His time on Earth.  She watched Him die.  She was going to anoint His dead body.  She was one of the first to see the angel at the empty tomb. 

Salome helps us remember our place as mothers, leaders, and servants.  We need to provide the love, safety, security, and belief that our children need.  We must meet the needs of our children.  But, we must also remember that in order to be great (in God's eyes and in the eyes of those around us) we must be humble servants.  Not those that do things for recognition, but those that do things to serve! 

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