During the World War II, the USS Astoria was badly damaged by a Japanese vessel
and sank. Signalman 3rd Class Elgin Staples was swept overboard and kept afloat
by a lifebelt. Staples was rescued by a passing destroyer which was also attacked
and sunk. He was back in the ocean, but okay thanks to his great lifebelt.
Staples was picked up once more by the USS President Jackson and once on
board, he examined the lifebelt that had saved him. A label revealed that it had
been manufactured by the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company and bore a
registration number. When he arrived home on leave, Staples told his story to his
mother, who happened to work for Firestone, and when they did research on the
serial number, found out that she had been the one to assemble the lifebelt! The
mother was a means for the blessing of a saved life.
Likewise, Mary the mother of Jesus, was the means God used to bless and save many lives today. In many circles her biblical role is over-emphasized and in other circles she is minimized, if not avoided completely. This message will seek to have a balanced and biblical view of Mary in God’s eyes.
EXAMINE Luke 11:27-28
Today is a day we recognize and celebrate mothers. In doing so, we will examine the mother of Jesus and why she was a blessed woman. Women today can discover God’s blessing through the blessings of Mary.
Mary was blessed because she was selected by God.
In the opening chapters of Luke’s Gospel, we have the birth narrative of Jesus. Mary is identified as a woman who has found favor/grace from God (Luke 1:28, 30). Further, Mary’s cousin Elizabeth calls her a blessed woman: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!… And blessed is she who believed that there would be fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Luke 1:42, 45). The Scriptures do not give any clear indication as to why Mary was selected for the mother of Jesus, other than simply God’s sovereign grace. However, one cannot help but admire Mary’s character:
▪ trust and submission to God (Luke 1:38 “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”)
▪ her reflective spirit of worship (Luke 1:46-55; 2:19);
▪ her faithfulness as a wife with Joseph and mother (Luke 2:48-51; John 19:25-27);
▪ her faith in Jesus’ power to perform miracles (John 2:1-5);
▪ and her enduring discipleship as a witness to Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 1:14).
Many women are selected by God to be mothers. The Bible presents this as a special grace and gift from God. “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward” (Psalm 127:3; cf. Psalm 127-128). However, not all women are mothers, but all women have mothers; that is the point of Mother’s Day.
ð Every woman is blessed because she has a mother; therefore, honor them in word & deed.
ð “Moms”, each of you have been selected “for such a time as this” – to raise up a new generation to love God, love others and lead generations.
AND SO, your identity is not in what you do but who you are in Christ.
Mary was blessed because she had support from others.
In the developing relationships of Jesus’ family, not much is known about Mary. However, when we do see mention of her in the NT it is in the context of relationships. During her pregnancy with Jesus she spends about three months with Elizabeth as they comfort and encourage one another. When Jesus is teaching or performing miracles, Mary is either with her other children (and perhaps Joseph) or with the other disciples. Even when Jesus is at His greatest moment of suffering, of which His mother is experiencing with empathetic observation with Him, she is with other disciples. In fact, it is there that Jesus tenderly hands His mother to the care of the beloved disciple – John (“John 19:25-27 Woman, behold your son!… Behold your mother!”)
As a husband of eleven years and father of 3+ 1 coming, I have observed that one of the missing elements of healthy families is support. Motherhood is full of challenging moments that are simply not fully understood by those who are not mothers.
Here are some ways of support and partnership that I see we could/should/are growing in as a church:
- Providing a place for relationship and connection among men, women, and children at various life stages. This should develop both inside & outside the church.
- June 2 Ladies Fellowship
- Bible Groups provide a place for spiritual growth and specific life-stage application
- Periodic teaching on specific family matters
- In June: AMAZING (VBS teaching series to synergize church)
- In July & August: “Family Matters” (teaching series on various familial issues)
- Frequent teaching of on-going life issues
- WEE Center has families we can reach out and show we care. Ideas could be fellowship meals for mom’s & dad’s with free babysitting, resource counseling on parenting & preschool topical issues, prayer partners
- Single Parents (separated, divorced, widow, military, unbelieving, other) need to be cared for as commanded in Scripture.
ð Who do you see needing support and how can we be of help? (look in our church, your bible group, neighborhood, school, child rec leagues, other networks)
Mary was blessed because she had a Savior in Jesus.
In this passage, after a woman praises Jesus’ mother, Jesus’ response is to affirm Mary’s blessed role but to further bless those who respond to Him and the message of the gospel. Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it” (11:28). The point is that, yes, Mary was blessed but so is everyone else who trust in God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. Ultimately, regardless of other religious traditions, even Mary the mother of Jesus needed a Savior.
This was prophesied at Jesus’ infancy, through Simeon (Luke 2:28-35). The prophecy was that Mary’s own soul would be pierced because of sin (in the murder of Jesus) but not for sin. In other words, even Mary as Jesus’ mother could not escape the reality of sin. Mary’s sin was part of the multitude of sins that placed Jesus on the cross. As said, “for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Further, only Jesus Christ is the divine intercessor for our sin (Savior) – “For there is one God and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1Timothy 2:5). In no way is Mary viewed or affirmed as a co-redeemer with Christ.
Lastly, Mary is noted among the other disciples as those who are part of the new church – Christ’s body – uniting and devoting themselves to prayer, teaching and witnessing to the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 1:8, 13-14).
ð As people, specifically mothers, we should not feel the need to be perfect. Our identity is not rooted in our abilities or inabilities – whether they be a happy family, a clean house, well-cooked meals, successful job performance and the likes. Our identity should be shaped by the gospel which reminds us we never measure up on our own but in Christ we receive grace. In the gospel we discover contentment to go about our lives and duties, resting in the merit of our Savior and therefore able to serve others and joyfully pointing them too to the Savior.
µ Today, we recognize the blessing of mothers. Their character and faithfulness motivates us to live out their model. In addition to showing our gratitude for mom’s through gifts and cards, we can seek to emulate their faith and behavior.
µ Further, we recognize the blessings of Mary’s life that point us toward her special Son, who was the Savior of the world. All of our blessings must be returned with honor and praise to the Blesser – the Lord Jesus Christ.