Sunday Sermon: ‘Jesus and His Mother’

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I would like to begin this morning by wishing all of our moms a Happy Mother’s Day. I have read that on May 10, 1908, three years after her mother’s death, Anna Jarvis held a memorial ceremony to honor her mother and all mothers at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia. In the ensuing years, Anna Jarvis embarked upon a campaign to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday. After her persistent efforts, Mother’s Day was finally proclaimed a national holiday in 1914 by President Woodrow Wilson. [1] But Mother’s Day began long before that. Actually Adam was the first person to recognize the importance of mothers when he named his wife Eve which means – ‘the mother of all living.’ It’s kind of amazing to think that regardless of who we are or where we are from, we all are linked to Eve. Eve is the mother of us all. Happy Mother’s Day Eve! Throughout the Bible we are encouraged to honor our mothers. The 5th Commandment says: “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (Exodus 20:12) Perhaps the most famous and the most referred to verse of scripture is from the book of Proverbs. “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her…” (Proverbs 31:28) This morning the Lord has laid a rather unusual portion of scripture on my heart to use for my Mother’s Day message. It comes from the gospel of John. John 19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. From this passage I see three lessons for us on this special Mother’s Day. I. Jesus Loved His Mother

Not a lot is given to us about the boyhood of Jesus. We know that when He was twelve years old his parents found Him in the Temple discussing theological matters with the religious teachers. When questioned what He was doing our Lord said, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s business?” (see Lk 2:24) The Bible says that afterwards Jesus returned home with Mary and Joseph and remained there until He was an adult.

 A. Mary’s Pain at the Cross

It’s not hard to imagine how painful it must have been for Mary to watch her son being crucified. Such a sight would tear the heart out of most mothers. Mary had been warned about this day. When Jesus was only a week old a man in the Temple had told her: “Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also.” (Luke 2:35) The word used here for sword doesn’t speak of a small knife, but a large sword capable of inflicting great pain.

B. Mary’s Encouragement at the Cross

Why was Mary at the cross? Why didn’t she just stay away and protect herself from seeing such a horrible sight? Perhaps she was there because this was her son. Perhaps she was there because she knew that He was also the Son of God. This was not only her son. This was her Savior. Later Peter would preach:

Acts 4:24 “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: “ ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one.’ 27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. NIV

Mary stood there silently and watched as Jesus suffer. I’m sure that she also did a whole lot of praying.

Perhaps her presence brought Jesus a certain amount of comfort. The Bible teaches us that Mary was a part of a group of women (mostly aunts and other relatives), who traveled with Jesus and ministered to His needs. Perhaps they cooked His meals and washed His clothes and brought a woman’s touch to His life and ministry.

Personally I have found women to be great spiritual cheerleaders. My mom has always been one of my greatest cheerleaders and even to this day whenever I  talk to her she will somehow seek to encourage me. Tammy is also a great spiritual cheerleader. I don’t think that I would be in the ministry if she hadn’t been there to support me. I sometimes believe that she has more power in praying for my messages than I do. Whenever my back is against the wall and I can’t get a message to come together, I ask her to pray and before I know it – there it is!

Mary ministered to her son from the moment of His birth until His death. Even after His death Mary continued to do all that she could to help the cause of Jesus. We read from the book of Acts –

Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

 Until the day she died, Mary did all she could to support her Son’s ministry.

C. Children Should Always and Honor Their Parents

Children should always do all they can to love and honor their parents. This is a part of God’s perfect will. This is one of the Ten Commandments.

Having said that I also recognize that not everyone has had a mother like Mary. Not every mother has been kind, loving, and spiritual. Because mothers are human, some mothers have made some terrible mistakes. So have some dads. Yet we need to remember that there are no ‘If’s’ in the fifth commandment. The Bible does not say: ‘Honor your father and mother  – if they live and act in an honorable way.’ The Bible simply says: ‘Honor them.’ Why?

1. We should honor our parents because being a parent is a biblical position of authority.

2. We should honor our parents because many parents have made great sacrifices for their children.

3. And we should honor our parents because parents had a need to be honored.

A while back I heard a story on the radio about the power of a child honoring his or her parents. A dad had failed his family miserably. He made some terrible choices and brought great pain to his children. The years following the family drifted apart and the children did not see their father for many years. One day one of the daughters received a phone call from a hospital in another city, requesting that she come and see her dad before he died. At first she started not to go, but then felt like she should and so she went. She was the only one of the children who went to see their dying dad.

As she approached her dad’s bed he looked at her and said, “Will you please forgive me?” What should she do? Her dad had sinned against her family and for decades she and her siblings had tried to do all they could wipe his memory out of their lives. But something told her to forgive her dad and so she did.

As a result something amazing began to happen. God began working in the lives of many in her family. Many came to know Jesus Christ as their Savior. The man telling the story said that it was like a great curse had been removed from their family. The Bible said that Job’s restoration came after he prayed for those who had been attacking him.

Down through the years I have met many adult children who were angry with one or both of their parents. Sometimes when they tell me their stories, I understand why they are angry. Yet I have never met a child who had peace as a result of being angry with their parent. Anger and bitterness is a prison cell that can hold us captive. I believe that God would have each of us to love and honor our mothers on this day.

II. Jesus Showed Care and Concern for His Mother

The second lesson I learn from Jesus is that He cared for His mother.

John 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother!

 A. Jesus’ Pain Could Have Kept Him From Seeing His Mother

The pain Jesus experience in His own life could have kept Him from seeing His mother. He could have focused entirely upon Himself and never noticed her and her pain. To be honest, who could have blamed Him? Yet the Bible says that Jesus ‘saw His mother.’ He looked down and saw her and the pain she was enduring.

How long did He look at her? Did their eyes ever meet? What transpired between the mother and her son during that time? Did both of them see the sword that was piercing both of their souls?

B. Jesus Cared for the Pain of His Mother

Recently I read of Seven Way to Love Our Mother. [2]

1. Love Her Verbally

2. Love Her Physically

3. Love Her Patiently

4. Love Her Attentively

5. Love Her Gratefully

6. Love Her Generously

7. Love Her Honorably

Here’s an adaptation of a job description I found for moms. [3]

“Loving, selfless, team player wanted for lifetime commitment. Must be able to work for demanding bosses, multitask ten things at one time, and resolve meltdowns in a chaotic workplace. Must be on call 24/7 (even on vacation), run on little sleep, awaken instantly and have the patience of a saint.

Must be able to magically fix “everything” with a glue gun, safety pin and a Band-Aid. Must have a high tolerance for nagging, begging, crying, bickering and the never-ending WHY questions. Must be flexible enough to fit into tight spaces to pick up objects, have eyes on the back of your head, six pair of hands & able to clean and tidy the same areas over and over again. Must have catlike reflexes to catch anyone about to fall at any given time. Must be mature enough to refrain from: yelling, sarcasm, caving in, bargaining with chocolate, locking children in a room and throwing away the key or running away from home.

This individual will be the: maid, cook, chauffeur, nurse, referee, counsellor, and teacher. Must have a Masters degree in stain removal. A strong stomach and ability to bite your tongue are major assets.

No salary but includes endless hugs & kisses, homemade cards, an occasional “You’re the best mom in the world.” Benefits include a life-time of wonderful memories, a long-term investment in happiness and a life-well spent…”

III. Jesus Recognized the Importance of Spiritual Motherhood

What is ‘spiritual motherhood?’ If you look for that term in Webster’s Dictionary or a Bible encyclopedia, you won’t find it. Yet it’s very real. What is spiritual motherhood? My definition of spiritual motherhood is a godly woman’s influence upon the body of Christ. A woman’s presence brings something special to the home and a woman’s presence brings something special to the body of Christ.

We all belong to a physical family. We all at some point have had a mother and a father, and perhaps sisters and brothers. That’s our physical family.

But every Christian also belongs to a spiritual family. I am fortunate that I have had a tremendous physical family. But I am also fortunate that I have had a tremendous spiritual family. The Bible says that on one occasion the mother of Jesus and her children stood outside of a home where Jesus was ministering.

Matthew 12:46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. 47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. 48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? And who are my brethren? 49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Salvation is being born into a spiritual family where God is our Father and we become brothers and sisters. Years ago Christians used to address each other as ‘brother’ and ‘sister.’ Paul give us some very important guidance about our spiritual families.

1 Timothy 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; 2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

A. We Are to Honor Our Spiritual Fathers and Mothers

“Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father… Treat older women as you would your mother

The King James Version uses the term ‘elder.’ An elder in the Bible can mean one of two things:

1. A spiritual leader in the church

2. An older Christian

I believe Paul is referring to older Christians in this passage.

As I was preparing for this message I noticed something unusual on the internet. There are many churches who advertise themselves as being ‘multi-generational.’ It’s sad how the generations are divided in so many churches. I’m glad that’s not so at Twin Oaks. We are ‘multi-generational’ and we’re the better for it.

Paul tells us to be respectful of our spiritual fathers and mothers. Be as kind and compassionate towards them as you would your parents. Never speak harshly to them and if you need to discuss something important with them, do so in a respectful manner. Here’s an important verse from the Old Testament:

Leviticus 19:32 “Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged. Fear your God. I am the LORD.” (NLT)

I am so thankful for the spiritual fathers and mothers God has placed in my life along the way. I’m not sure I would be in the ministry if it had not been for their encouragement. The Bible tells me that I am to love them, to respect them and to care for them.

B. We Are to Treat Our Spiritual Brothers and Sister in an Honorable Way

1 Timothy 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; 2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

We are to treat our relationship with each other as something sacred. It seems to me that Paul’s emphasis is that there should never be something ‘dishonorable’ transacting between two Christians. Christian men – treat Christian women as though they were your sisters. Christian women – treat Christian men as though they were your brothers.

The Bible says that we are to love one another and to be willing to wash each other’s feet. We are to serve one another and bear our brethren’s burdens. We are to be kind and patient with one another and quick to forgive. We are to comfort one another and cheer each other on. We are to confess our faults to one another and pray for each other. We are to live at peace with each other and always be ready to invite each other into our home.

The Bible says: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1) I thank God for my physical family. I also thank Him for my spiritual family. 

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[1] http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Jarvis [2] sermon by Jerry Shirley: http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/7-ways-to-love-your-mother-jerry-shirley-sermon-on-mothers-day-68117.asp [3] http://workfamilyfoundation.org/inspiration/mothers-job-description/

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