What Jesus Did! 'Mothers!' — Matthew 20:20-21

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

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Then the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus with her sons. She knelt respectfully to ask a favor. "What is your request?" he asked.

She replied, "In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left."

— Matthew 20:20-21 NLT

Key Thought

Mothers are so precious. They want what is best for their children. They want others to love their children and see them in the same way they do. These desires sometimes cause them to say things they shouldn't and do things that are ill-advised. But they want good things so very much for their children that they cannot contain themselves.

Notice in the following verses that Jesus does not deal harshly with James' and John's mother. In fact, he recognizes that her question may even arise from within the hearts of her two sons and replies to them, not her (Matthew 20:22-23).

Jesus' ministry is routed in the real world, the same world we live in. Rivalry and ambition and motherly love all collide with truth and God's will and timing. That Jesus lived in and knows our world should be great comfort when we go to him in prayer.

Today's Prayer

Holy Father, I want to thank you for godly mothers today. I thank you for the way they sacrifice to give life along with the gifts of blessing, hope, and faith to their children. I ask you to bless each of them now and for all eternity with your love, grace, and reward. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • John 2:1-5
  • Proverbs 31:1-2
  • Genesis 4:1


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Illustration of Matthew 20:20-21 NLT — "What is your request?"   ——   "In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left."

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.