Scripture — Matthew 20: 20-23

20 Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before [Jesus], she asked a favor of him.  21 And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.”

22 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.”

23 He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”


So what are we asking of Jesus this Lenten season?  What privileges do we seek?   What favors do we ask?

In the gospel of Mark,  James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come forward on their own to ask Jesus if they could sit on his right and his left “in your glory.”  This, just after Jesus has described how he will die upon the cross.   But the disciples are more concerned with their own standing and status.   Did they even hear Jesus?   In our reading above, Matthew cleans up this embarrassment a bit by pinning the question on the mother rather than the disciples themselves.  It’s a 1st century version of what some call today “helicopter parenting.”

As we begin this day, this first Friday in Lent, we may reflect ourselves on how we use Jesus.  In what ways is Jesus a means to our ends, our goals, our aspirations?


Dear Lord,

Forgive us for our obsession about our own needs and concerns.  Help us to set aside notions of how we will use you in our lives, and instead invite us to offer our lives to you, to use as you will.