This is an overview of our discussion and not a text for success. This is not just a Holiday thing either. We are sharing stories and principles for coping with life and not just Christmas. This is not a discussion of right and wrong behaviors but of healthier and unhealthier. This is not a discussion of living stress free wither-only dead people are stress free. The trick is living in heathy stress and not constant distress. There are no quick fixes but this story gives us a framework for discussion.
Read our story from the Gospel of Matthew and follow along as we ask the text some questions: Click here for Matthew 20:20-28
Our discussion of the text: James and John show up to see Jesus with their mom. She asks them to make these two the number two and three people in His messianic kingdom. She misunderstood the kingdom to be an earthly-political one while Jesus was teaching that it would be one in heaven. While she only had her community model to understand a kingdom, she knew Jesus, recognized and she had faith that He could make her request happen.
Jesus gave them all a question as an answer and used Holy Communion language to teach them. He is asking, “do you really know what you are getting in to. They said sure and then Jesus said, “You’ve got it!” BUT the three seats of leadership are not His to give nor theirs to receive-they are for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Later, Jesus would gather them together, with all of the grumbling, and explain that their mission was not to set up another human led, lord and master government system. The Kingdom of God would be spiritual and focused on serving others rather than being the big dog in charge and being served. Jesus did not die the make them power people but to be their ransom-payment-redemption, freeing them for a rich life that changes the world.
After this rather lively discussion of the text, we turned the worksheet over and asked these question.
- Who brought whom to Jesus? Did mom bring the boys? Or did the boys bring mom to fade the heat? Who brings their mom to something like this! Perhaps mom was that strong willed and didn’t trust her kids to stand up for themselves. Maybe the sons brought mom to take the heat and passively do their talking to Jesus for them. It makes a difference in our family dynamics. Who is the strong willed in your family and who waits to be brought along. Neither is more right or more wrong but you need to understand how that works to understand how a group of people come together and operate in a healthy way.
- Why did anyone have to bring anyone? The short answer is anxiety. one or another was worried more than the other and pushed this action to relieve the anxiety. Mom worried about sons, or sons worried about what Jesus would think or all of them just wanted to make sure they got to the front of the line. Some things to consider
- First from verse 22: He calmly refocused the question in a spiritual way in a calm place in a focused way. When our family is in crisis we can begin by getting focused around facts and not emotion.
- Second from verse 23:
- And third from verse 25 How did this effect the group dynamic? I made the other 10 “indignant”! It caused stress and acting out. He and gathered this family of disciples. Being together in a familiar place is powerful but has to be mutually respectful to be healthy
- What happens in football when you have 12 players on the field.. “Too many players on the field” gets a flag and the loss of control. When an outsider or one unhealthy voice gets control the play has to change directions! This is hard and usually goes against long standing patterns. Jesus didn’t let the two define the mission that was to be their lives.
- What happens when one (or more) try define a group members identity. anger with yelling? anger with silence, isolating? or….calmly sharing the cause and asking God to lead rather than the emotion of the moment. Prayer is amazing when we do it at first instead of as a last resort. Following Jesus’ calm yet firm persona. He did not yell back and taught then retaught the role they would have and the one they would follow. Consistency and discernment is a key. Seeing God clearly through the fog of anxiety is key to getting started. Knowing whose you are is key to knowing who you are and living in the healthy light of faith.
- What correction did Jesus offer? Seek to serve and not be served. Seek to follow God in spirit and truth rather than lead from your own limited vision and strength. His witness and example would lead and guide all of those who follow. It was suggested that this confrontation by James and John’s mom was embarrassing! They probably knew the answer but pushed the point any way.
- Fusion versus differentiation: Sometimes we are “Fused” as a group to the point that we lose all individuality-this is called fusion. Sometimes we are so focused on ourselves that we don’t need anyone else-this is called differentiation. The truth is that we float around somewhere in the middle. We must know ourselves well enough to go to Jesus without mom making our case for us. We also have to take on our life’s role with or without Mom’s approval and be ok. We must be connected to our group but not to the point we have no identity-that describes a cult. To lack any need for our family makes us empty shells and narcissists.
- Ideally, who should we “fuse” with? The only perfect person that ever walked was Jesus. He is the one who gives us an identity that gives us a life of significance here and life eternal hereafter.