8/23/20 – “Meet James, the son of Zebedee”

Posted on : Aug 21st, 2020 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Would any good parent of multiple children show favoritism?  Would any good Coach or Teacher have a favorite player or student?  In spite of knowing better, I guess it is easy to succumb to viewing someone as a favorite.  Jesus didn’t seem to understand the wisdom of not selecting favorites either. There are three times in the Gospel narratives that Jesus showed favoritism among the disciples and in each case, three disciples were selected for special experiences.  One of these was Simon Peter, one of these was John (this James’ brother), and the other is this James.  {I am using “this James” to remind you we have already met another disciple/apostle named James.}

This trio were the only disciples to experience the rising of Jarius’ daughter from her deathbed, the Transfiguration of Jesus, and the agony of Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Though you could argue they might have missed the last event since Jesus caught them sleeping!  Selecting Peter makes sense since he might have been the most favored.  Selecting John makes sense since he is known as the “Beloved Disciple” of Jesus.  But why does the selection of James makes sense?  None that I can tell, especially since we know very little about him from our Gospel stories. James certainly does not come across as any more special than the rest.

And what is even more amazing is how in this Sunday’s story, Jesus scolds him (the Biblical word is “rebuke”.) Jesus also rebuked James when he got angry at poor reception he received in a Samaritan village and he asked, well almost demanded, that Jesus call on God to wipe out that village.

This is who Jesus chose to be in his inner circle!  Perhaps James was chosen for what he needed to learn.  He came from a family of economic means.  He saw himself as a person of privilege. He would not have been surprised in the least to be chosen for Jesus’ inner circle. Actually, he would have expected to be chosen.  In fact, it is his arrogance that we see on display in our text and how Jesus had to deal with that arrogance.  In doing so, Jesus provided not only James with a profound lesson about service, but one that we still struggle with at times to perfect.

Join us on Sunday and see if you can learn how to apply this teaching of Jesus into your own personal life of discipleship?

I realize that preaching an extended sermon series is a tricky business as most of you will need to miss a Sunday here for there, especially over the course of the summer!  So, if you wish to keep up and not miss an apostle, then I invite you to send me an email with the date of the Sunday you missed, and I will be happy to send you that sermon.  This is my email:  joemcgowan@aol.com

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!


Joe McGowan, Guest Preacher


A Reading from Mark 10: 35-45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And Jesus said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”  They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 

When the other ten disciples heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So, Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be servant of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”


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