Biblical People

Biblical People: The Mother of James and John

Two of Jesus’s disciples are James and John. Their mother comes to Jesus, making an audacious request for her boys. She asks that Jesus honor them by letting them sit on his right and his left in his kingdom. 

Jesus is direct. “You don’t realize what you’re asking.” Eventually he says only his Father can grant such a request. The other disciples are peeved at the brothers and their mom for being so pushy.

However, we later see her bravely keeping vigil at the cross as Jesus dies. Matthew notes that she’s one of the women who follows Jesus and cares for him. But we remember her most for being a pushy mom and her shameless promotion of her sons.

How can we know when to advocate for our children and when to let them grow up and fend for themselves?

[Discover more about James and John’s mother in Matthew 20:20–28 and Matthew 27:55–56.]

Read about other biblical women in Women of the Bible, available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 1,000-page website to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.

By Peter DeHaan

Peter writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and make a faith that matters. Learn more at