All around the globe this Sunday, the sons of Zebedee, James and John, will be setup as straw men for the antithesis of how we should approach the Son of God. They are a helpful, cautionary tale, to be sure, but at least at this early point in my vacation-week-sermon-prep, I’m thanking God for the Zebedee Boys.
And not just because they get it wrong.
I’m thankful for James and John this morning because they say what is on our minds. They were good American Christians 2000 years before it was cool to be self-seeking, goal oriented, fat bank account carrying disciples of Jesus. They asked for what they wanted, “anything they wanted,” long before the Prayer of Jabez had come and gone. I admire James and John because, at the very least, they are genuine.
Don’t we all, at some point or another, wish Jesus would just give us that promotion? Don’t we want God to fix it all and set everything right? Don’t we hope that tiny, infant Jesus would make everything easy? everyday Friday? give us our best life now?
We tend to look down on James and John, but only because they are so much like us. They say what we’re too afraid to admit, and so we can point and laugh. What would it look like, if before our confession on Sunday, we took the time to admit the selfish questions that lie within? What if we were honest with ourselves and with God? What if we were so bold as to write them down?
The Zebedee Boys might be the example against which we all strive, but what if this week, they gave us permission to get off our chest all the self-seeking desires we’ve kept hidden all these years?