Finding ultimate joy and satisfaction

Mary Salome and Zebedee with their sons, James and John the Evangelist (Hans Suess von Kulmback, 1511)

The way of service is a theme of today’s Bible reflection from a member of St Chrysostom’s Church. our reflections go through Lent and are based on a Bible reading for the day. Today the reflection is on Matthew 20. 17-28. This is the Gospel reading for the Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent.

Fr Chris spoke to a senior member of the congregation who kindly offered these thoughts:

The thing that stands out most for me is the acceptance by Jesus – acceptance of the future and “they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified”. It was in Jesus’ power to change the course of events, but he chooses to continue on the painful path which will see him crucified.

I feel that there is  a marked contrast here with the actions of Zebedee’s wife who is asking for earthly glory for her sons. The tension between her and the rest of the disciples can be felt, together with the feelings of being usurped and jealousy. Jesus is submissive to his painful fate, whereas this mother is asking for fame and fortune for her sons.

For me this is a story of service versus worldly glory. “But whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave”. It is in serving others, in serving God, that we find ultimate joy and satisfaction – not in the pursuit of wealth and fame.


About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
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