Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. 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. Matthew 20:20-21
A number of years ago my brother, Paul, spoke to a Men’s meeting, using this question as his title. The title has stayed with me all these years: Where Was Daddy Zebedee?
The one and only time we see Zebedee was when Jesus called his sons to follow him. “And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.”
It seems that this family resided in Bethsaida and had a certain amount of affluence since Mark lets us know Zebedee had servants. We do not see Zebedee questioning, supporting or complaining about his sons’ leaving the family business. He was there, but not really there. This is the one and only time we see Daddy Zebedee touching James and John’s lives.
Now with Momma Zebedee it is a very different story. She was there with her two boys, requesting special recognition for her sons in the Kingdom of Heaven. She was there at the Crucifixion of Jesus with her sister Mary, but where was daddy Zebedee? She was also there as the women visited the grave of Jesus, but where was daddy Zebedee?
I realize that James and John where young men when they left their father’s business. But it still seems strange to me that all the time Jesus and the boys visited Galilee, there is no mention of them visiting Zebedee or the father making an effort to contact his boys. O the joy this father missed by not making the effort.
I am presently mentoring and giving a Bible study to a big, tall, middle-aged truck driver who drives on the weekend so he misses out on Sunday Services. He has stated that I am his ‘father’. I have become his surrogate father since his real father disappeared when he was a small child. He now has made contact with his biological father, but the hurt is so deep that he has lost respect for his father and has no desire to visit him. His father has lost the ‘daddy’ relationship, destroyed and wasted what could have been a precious part of his life.
In an article, by the National Fatherhood Initiative Website; entitled: “The Father Absence Crisis in America” cites the U. S. Census Bureau as saying, “24 million children in America –one out three—live without their biological father in the home. Consequently, there is a ‘father factor’ in nearly all of the societal ills facing America today”.
Research shows when a child is raised in a father-absent home, he or she is affected in the following ways:
- 4 times greater risk of poverty.
- 7 times more likely to become pregnant as a teen.
- More likely to have behavioral problems.
- More likely to face abuse and neglect.
- 2 times more likely to experience infant mortality.
- More likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
- More likely to go to prison.
- More likely to commit a crime.
- 2 times more likely to be obese.
- 2 times more likely to drop out of high school.
The report goes on to say:
- 1.35 million births [33 percent of all births] in 2000 occurred out of wedlock.
- 43% of all marriages dissolve within fifteen years; about 60% of divorcing couples have children; and approximately one million children each year experience the divorce of their parents.
- Over 3.3 million children live with an unmarried parent and the parent’s cohabitating partner. The number of cohabiting couples with children has nearly doubled since 1990.
- Compared to children born within marriage, children born to cohabitating parents are three times as likely to experience father absence.
- About 40% of children in father-absence homes have not seen their father at all in the last year.
- From 1960 to 1995, the proportion of children living in single-parent homes tripled, from 9% to 27%.
- On the positive side: Fathers who live with their children are more likely to have a close, enduring relationship with their children than those who do not.
Fatherless families is a tragedy getting worse and worse. We are nearing the end time when evil will increase and increase. Jesus is coming.
The Prophet Malachi left us a promise as well as a warning:
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. Malachi 4:4,6
Zebedee – Your Children are enough of a reason to keep your Marriage together.
Zebedee – Leave your Nets and your Boat and Reconnect with James and John.
Most Men can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Daddy.
– Plaque by my bed