One Wish and One Wish Only

Imagine you are stranded on the most desolate island tired, hungry, and thirsty. Beyond the horizon, you see a bright shining light; you start walking towards it hoping for some sort of survival equipment. Upon your amazement all you see is a lamp; you rub this lamp and up pops a genie who says you may have anything you want, but you only have One Wish and One Wish Only.
One Wish and One Wish Only
What would you ask your master or genie for if all you had was one wish and one wish only? Would it be to bring world peace? Just picture how good it would it be to turn on the news and not be depressed after watching all that goes on, especially when considering the danger of terrorism. Or would you wish to bring an end to poverty, sickness, or find a cure for cancer and other diseases? Would you ask for financial blessing-how about not paying taxes? How about a new car or a new house?

As you ponder this question, join me in Matthew 20:20-21 where we read of an example of a mother who was faced with some choices about a most important matter.

“Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him [Jesus] with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, ‘What do you wish?’ She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”

At first glance, we may be quite surprised by such a bold request of Jesus.  However, as we look closer at these two verses what we really see is every parent’s wish.  Let me explain.

There are two aspects of this scripture to consider as we ponder the question of making a wish. The first is that of a parent’s submission to God. Looking again at verse 20 of Matthew 20, we find the Mother of Zebedee’s sons coming to Jesus. This mother is not named in the account, but later we learn her name is Salome.

In Hebrew, the word Salome is translated shalom or peace. Her sons, as described in Mark 3:17 are the disciples James and John, the “sons of Thunder.” Many Bible commentators suggest that Salome was also the sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus (Mark 16:1) thus making James and John first cousins of Jesus, and Salome Jesus’ aunt. We see in other scriptures that there is a close family connection to Jesus between this nameless mother who was at the scene when Christ died on the stake (Mark 15:40).

Looking back to Matthew 20:20, we read that Salome “came… with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him.” We see here through Salome how body language plays an integral role in a parent’s submission to God. She came to Jesus kneeling or bowing down. Notice she did not come with a pompous attitude, but she came humbly bowing before the presence of the Almighty God.

Can you imagine the impact Salome had on her children seeing their mother kneel, giving praise to Jesus and asking a favour for their own benefit and not hers?

Here is one lesson parents and even young adults in the church can learn from this account: children respond to the actions of their elders. We all live by watching the examples of others. If Salome came to Jesus without showing any reverence towards Him, do you think that James and John would be more receptive to follow God’s way after witnessing any disrespect their mother had for Jesus the Messiah?

Once again, we see that a parent’s submission to God can, and will play, a significant role in the life of others.

Secondly, we find in this account that parents want what is best for their children. Returning to Matthew 20:20, we see that Salome came to Jesus with her sons. Picture for a second how embarrassing this would have been for James and John, who some Bible commentators suggest were between 25-30 years of age. These were grown men, who were followers of Jesus; yet they had their ‘mommy’ drag them in front of the rest of the disciples who must have heard her ask Jesus this favour.

We see here that parents are the biggest supporters of their children, no matter how old, how mature, how much trouble one gets into; parents, like God our Father, want what is the best for us.

In Matthew 20:21, Jesus responds to this mother and her two grown children by saying, “What do you wish?” Without any hesitation or doubt, in the blink of an eye Salome asked her Lord, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.”

This is the perfect example: that the heart and core of any parent’s wish is for their child is to become part of the Kingdom of God. Jesus essentially asked Salome, ‘One wish and one wish only.’ Salome asked that her children become part of the Kingdom of God, and nothing in return for herself.  Salome did not ask that her children bring home the right mate, get the greatest education, or earn the best paying job. Yet, as important as these things are, if the truth were known, most parents’ ultimate wish would be for their children to be part of the Family of God.

In 1 Kings 3:16-28, we read of the wise judgment of Solomon. Summarizing this account, there is one baby and two supposed mothers. One mother has just lost her child and lays claim to the other mother’s child. These two mothers approached King Solomon asking for a righteous judgment.

Then the woman whose son was living spoke to the king, for she yearned with compassion for her son; and she said, ‘O my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him!’ But the other said, ‘Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him.’ (1 Kings 3:26)

Here is an example of a parent’s earnest care for her child’s physical life; we see the emotions, attitude, and willingness to give up her role as a mother to preserve the physical life of her child. It’s inconceivable to see how much more a parent would be willing to give up anything and everything for the eternal life of their child.

In conclusion from the account in Matthew 20:20-21 we find that:

Parents’ submission to God is a vital role that children look up to; parents must practice what they preach at home as they are their children’s biggest and most important influence.

Parents want what is best for their children at all times and at any cost. On reflection, we see that Salome only had one wish-that Jesus grant her children to be part of the Kingdom of God.

If you were given the opportunity for a wish to be granted by your Master would it not be that your children be part of the greatest event that will ever take place at the return of our Master Jesus Christ?

‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'” (Matthew 25:21)

At that time when God will echo those words, then we will know without a shadow of doubt, that God has granted the one wish that most parents would hope for: to be allowed entrance into the Kingdom of God!

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