Monday, April 29, 2013

Mothers' Day 2013 Meditation

Below is my article for the May 2013 IBC Newsletter:

When I think of Mothers' Day, my mind goes immediately to one of the seven statements that Jesus uttered on the cross. Amid all of the wondrous words that He spoke as He died, He looked to His mother and said, "Woman, behold your son." To the Apostle John, he said, "Behold your mother." With these words, we see a God-glorifying, Bible-obeying, parent-honoring compassion as Jesus commits his mother Mary into the care of "the disciple whom He loved," and we see at the same time a revolutionizing of human relationships within the family of God. The Lord Jesus, during the days of His earthly life, fully satisfied every detail of the law of God, including the command to honor one's mother and father (Exodus 20:12). It is interesting that after the account of Jesus in the temple when He was twelve years old (Luke 2:41-51), we never read anything about Joseph, the righteous man who became the earthly foster-father of Jesus. This has led most students of Scripture to conclude that Joseph died at some point not long after that. As the first-born son, Jesus would have had the responsibility of caring for his mother for the rest of her life. Now, with death only moments away, Jesus did the most compassionate thing He could do for His mother. He committed her to the care of His friend and follower John. We may wonder why He did not transfer the responsibility of caring for her over to one of her other sons or daughters (Mark 13:55-56). There are two very basic reasons why He chose John rather than these earthly siblings. First, they were not there; John was. But secondly, we also know that at this point His brothers and sisters did not believe in Jesus. Thankfully, later Scripture records that at least some of them did come to believe in Him, but at this point, they did not. He entrusted her to the care of John because he was a fully committed follower of Jesus, and for Jesus, this was the ultimate criteria for one who would care for His mother. It was essential for her to continue to grow in her own faith and understanding of Jesus, not only as her son, but as her Savior. That kind of relationship can only be fostered within a family of faith. If we would truly honor our parents, then we must care for them, and we must desire to see them growing in spiritual maturity. Jesus exemplified both as He entrusted Mary into John's care. 

With these words, we also see that Jesus revolutionized human relationships within the family of God. He did not say to John, "Take care of My mother." He said, "Behold your mother." He did not say to Mary, "Behold My friend who will care for you." He said, "Behold your son."  On a previous occasion, it was reported to Jesus that His mother and brothers had come to have a word with Him, and He responded by saying, "Who are My mother and My brothers? ... Whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother" (Mark 3:31-35). In the family of God, all those who follow Jesus are brothers and sisters, even mothers and sons and daughters, to one another under the Fatherhood of God. These revolutionized relationships are not a pretend kind of family. These ties are even more real than our biological relationships. While we may say that "blood is thicker than water," the blood of Jesus that binds us together in His family is thicker still. Within this spiritual family are those who were unable to have children, those whose children are not followers of Christ, those who never knew their parents, or whose parents were the cause of hardships in their life. There are those who never had a sibling, or never had a good relationship with their brothers or sisters at home. But, if you are a follower of Christ, then the Church of Jesus Christ has become your family of faith. Somewhere within the church, there is a young Christian that needs a godly mother and a faithful father-figure. There are ailing widows who need faithful sons and daughters to care for them in their advancing age. There is a hurting believer who desperately needs a faithful brother or sister to help them bear their burdens. Look around you. Behold your son. Behold your mother. Behold and embrace these revolutionized relationships that have been created through the death of the Savior. We must ask ourselves: Is there some young Christian that I can be a spiritual mother, father, or older sibling to? Is there some older Christian that I can be a spiritual son or daughter to? Is there some hurting Christian that needs the comfort of a brother or sister in the faith? This takes intentional investment of time and energy to build and nurture these relationships. The reward of that effort is a God-glorifying, Christ-exalting, family of faith where honor and compassion are shared selflessly, sacrificially, and even eternally as we carry these bonds beyond the door of death into our eternal home. 

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