20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.
21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.
22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.
23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. Mat. 20:20-23
Notice that these sons of Zebedee and their mother came “worshipping” Jesus; but also “desiring a certain thing of him.” So, these folks first worshipped Jesus, then presented their request to Him.
In other words, these folks worshipped Jesus because they wanted something from Him!
That is a dangerous combination, if ever there was one. If there is anything dangerous in church but which, alas! is going full steam ahead in many churches today, it is people going to church to “worship” the Lord because they want something of this world from Him. Many people are not aware of it, but this state of affairs is going on in their lives all the time!
Today, the 21st of December, 2014 is Sunday and this morning many folks are going to church ostensibly to worship the Lord. But God knows our hearts and He knows how many of us are truly going there to worship Him in truth and in the Spirit. He knows how many are going to church because all we want is the establishment of God’s Kingdom in our hearts. He knows how many of us are going there because we truly need an overhaul of the state of our spiritual lives.
He knows how many are going to church because we want to lose our lives more and to serve others more.
He also knows those who are going to worship Him simply for who He is.
But many, alas! are going to worship, but “desiring a certain thing” of Jesus – something of this world. They want the good things of this life. That is why they are going to church.
And today in many charismatic churches many preachers will end their sermons with an altar call where God’s children will be told to “Receive!” Many of God’s people will “receive” many things in church today.
Receiving is not a bad thing. We see Jesus also telling James and John to “Receive!” But what He told them to receive is vastly different from what many today will be “receiving” from their preachers.
Jesus told these gentlemen to prepare to receive only one thing: the cup and the baptism (Mk. 10). He did not promise to give them anything of this world. But we know they wanted something of this world. They wanted a place of honor in what they thought was Jesus’ impending worldly kingdom.
Today many people are going to church to receive the good things of this life. Personally I have no problem with a child of God receiving the good things of this life. I believe God also has no problem with that. But in reality, the things of this life are small change with God. That is why whether we receive the good things of this life or not is not a big deal with God; and it should not be with us. The Apostle Paul says in Philippians that he knew “both how to be abased, and… how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” (Phil. 4:12)
When it comes to receiving, there is something of far greater importance which we as the church ought to pay attention to. We should not miss this one. We may miss the good life, but we should not miss the one thing that Jesus wants us to receive.
What is this thing? It is what Jesus gave to James and John. It is what He told them to “Receive!” It is the cup and the baptism.
This is what we should all be going to church to receive this Sunday morning.
Unfortunately, many will be going to be entertained by the good music, or by the charismatic preacher. Many more will be going to seek and answer to their prayers – prayers for the things of this life.
But ours is a heavenly agenda. May God open our eyes to see the heavenly agenda. We will then worship Christ for who He is, not for what we want from Him.
Have a blessed Sunday service!