Luke 8:19-21 19 Jesus’ mother and brothers came to him, but they could not get near him because of the crowd. 20 Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.”
21 But he answered them, “My mother and brothers are those who are hearing and doing the word of God.”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3, EHV)
A recent study, conducted by Welch’s juice company, revealed that the average daily start time for a mom is 6:23 am – much earlier than when most people start their working day. Whether she works a full-time job or is a full-time stay-at-home mom, she ends her work day at 8:31 pm.
There aren’t too many jobs that require a 14-hour work day – and most moms do this every day of the week.
In total, that makes a mother working a monumental 98 hours a week – or 2 ½ times the average job.
No wonder moms are tired!
Being a mom is one of the hardest vocations that God has given to us. We’ll talk about the other hard vocation of the father on Father’s Day.
Let’s be honest, most other jobs in the business world are much easier than the mother’s job at home.
For example, at a job outside the home:
You regularly get to have adult conversations.
You don’t have to hide the chocolate and scissors.
You don’t have to dig things out of the toilet that don’t belong there.
You can go to the bathroom without worrying what disaster you’re going to find when you come out.
When you finish a task at work, it stays done, without it being broken, eaten, spilled on, walked on, or sneezed on.
Being a mom is definitely hard work. Moms inherently know this. But, they make it even harder on themselves with added pressures. Many moms struggle from guilt. They want their children to enjoy all the experiences that are available to them – soccer, track, forensics, the school play, academics – and there just is not enough time in the day to get to every activity and do everything well. Then, mom still has to find time to prepare well-balanced meals, pay the bills, cut the coupons, buy the groceries, make the dentist and doctor’s appointments, clean the house, and create carpools. When things slip through, mom feels guilty.
Moms can also feel great pain because one in six pregnancies end in miscarriage, so many women ache for the children they never held. Other women struggle with infertility, and the devil tempts them to think that their inability to have children is somehow God’s punishment for their past sins. Still, other women feel great guilt because they had an abortion. Their faith tells them they are forgiven, but their heart is pained with the knowledge that, in a moment of weakness and fear, they took the life of their child. And still others feel the guilt of doing things backward and having children before God’s blessing of marriage. They are worried what kind of message this will send to their children as they get older and start doing the math of their birthdates compared with their parents’ wedding date.
Yes, being a mom is hard work. Being a mom can carry a load of guilt.
To help moms with their work load and their load of guilt, let’s ask the question this morning, what could be better than a mother? To answer that question, we do what we always do – we go back to Scripture and look at Jesus.
In Luke 8, Jesus is in the middle of his ministry. He is going place to place teaching and healing, healing and teaching He is working long, crazy hours. Huge crowds are always following Him. In fact, Jesus’ mother and brothers are concerned that Jesus is working too much, so they come to talk to Him about it. But, they could not get near Him because the crowd around Jesus was too great.
The Evangelist Mark fills in a few more details of why Jesus’ mother and brothers were coming to see Him. This wasn’t just a friendly visit. It wasn’t just to sit down for coffee and Kringle. [Jesus and his disciples] went into a house. A crowd gathered again so that they were not even able to eat a meal. When his own people heard this, they went out to take control of him, because they were saying, “He is out of his mind.” (Mark 3:20-21)
Mary came to see Jesus to take Him away from everyone. She felt that her poor boy wasn’t taking care of Himself, so she came to take care of Him. She had good intentions!
Mary thought she was doing the right thing. She was concerned about her eldest son. She wanted to protect Him from all this healing and teaching and preaching. But, what would have happened if Mary had succeeded and stopped Jesus from His mission? Well, what was Jesus’ mission? Jesus’ entire mission of being born of Mary, presented by Mary and Joseph in the temple, dying before Mary on the cross, and rising from the dead on the third day was to be Mary and the rest of this world’s Savior. If Mary had pulled Jesus away from His mission, she might have felt that was for Jesus’ good. But, it would not have been for her good. Or our good.
Mary had good intentions, but those intentions were separated from Jesus.
The same thing happens with moms today. They have great intentions, but when those intentions do not involve Jesus, then they are not good. They are actually very bad.
Obviously, I’m not a mom, but I have a mom, I’m married to the mom of my four girls, and I minister to lots of moms. I know the good intentions that moms have that can actually cause much pain and guilt.
Moms are on Pinterest, trying to find all the recipes and birthday parties and craft projects that will make their children happy. Moms look at all the pictures on Facebook of families that have it all together. Moms get their children busy in every activity possible, but then there is no time for worship, Sunday School, family devotions and prayer.
Moms have such good intentions, but when all these activities actually pull their children away from Jesus and His mission to save their children’s souls – then that is not a good thing. In fact, that is a very bad thing!
Moms carry a lot of guilt. I don’t want to sound like I’m adding even more to that load of guilt. I want moms to understand that what they need is not to do more, it is to do less. It isn’t to be better, but to realize you are a sinner. It isn’t to try harder, but to come to Jesus.
Moms, what you need to hear today and every day is that when your good intentions aren’t all that good, Jesus still loves you. When you are loaded down with guilt, Jesus has come to take that guilt from you. When you finally realize that you can’t be the perfect mom and do it all, that’s great, because Jesus has already done it all. You are made perfect and righteous in Him.
Jesus was born of Mary, died on the cross in front of Mary, and rose from the dead, to forgive the whole world of their guilt and pain. Mothers, too.
Jesus’ mom came with good intentions to take Jesus away from His mission. And what was Jesus’ response? “My mother and brothers are those who are hearing and doing the word of God.”
It sounds like Jesus is blowing His mom off. It sounds like He’s even dishonoring His mother, which would have meant He was breaking the Fourth Commandment! But, that’s not what’s going on. Jesus doesn’t go with His mother because God’s family is more important than His blood family.
Thank God for that!
We aren’t blood relation to Jesus. But, we are part of His spiritual family. Jesus chose you at the baptismal font or at your conversion to become part of His family. He chose you to come to faith in Him as your Savior, so that you might become His brother or sister, a son or daughter in God’s holy family.
Jesus carried out His mission of taking on human flesh, shedding His divinely human blood, suffering your punishment, and giving you eternal life through His resurrection.
He has taken your motherly guilt upon Himself.
He has taken the pain of having an imperfect mother on Himself.
He has taken the hurtful words you have spoken to your husband, your children, or to your mother upon Himself.
He has taken your good intentions that pulled your family away from Jesus upon Himself.
He has taken you into His family by adopting you through the waters of Baptism. Now you are family.
What does it mean to be in Jesus’ family? Jesus says that His family are those who “are hearing and doing the word of God.”
Jesus says there is an order here. Hearing and then doing the Word of God. You must first be listening to God’s Word in faithful worship attendance, Bible classes, Sunday School, devotions and daily Bible readings. Then you will be equipped to do God’s Word. As you are listening to God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will then equip you to love your husband when he’s grumpy; to love your wife when she’s crabby; to hug your teenager when he or she just wants to be in their room; to set aside work to play catch or read a book to your little one; to honor your elderly parents as their health is failing. Those things don’t come naturally to people. You are only able to do the Word when the Holy Spirit equips you through hearing His Word.
Now, what about Mary? Jesus continued loving her. In fact, even from the cross, even as Jesus was dying, even in great pain, He honored His mother. He made sure she was taken care of. He told His beloved disciple, John, to take her home and care for His elderly mom (John 19:26-27). And Mary? Listen to this last time she’s mentioned in the Bible: “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers” (Acts 1:14). She continued hearing the Word and doing it. They were family not only in blood, but also by the Blood of Jesus.
Now, what about you? What's the bottom line here?
If you're a mother and you feel guilt, bring it to the foot of the cross. Jesus still loves you. He knows your sins and shames, and He still loves you. He forgives you.
If you’ve got a mother and you hold her up as perfect, stop. Love her. Honor her. But recognize that she is a sinful human who needs Jesus just as much as you do.
Whether or not you have a mother, thank God for blessing you with the people who raised you – whether or not they're blood!
And thank Jesus that He makes you part of a bigger family. And be a part of that family. Listen and do. Hear the word of God and put it into practice. Families of flesh and blood last only for a lifetime, but the family of God endures forever, and calls people to commit to the eternal Word of God. The spiritual relationship with Christ through faith is far more intimate than any physical relationship could possibly be. Faith brings the believer into the closest communion with the Savior.
Today we set aside a day to thank our heavenly Father for our earthly mother. But, what could be better than a mother? Being a child in God’s family - hearing and doing God’s Word. Amen.
May the LORD our God be with us, just as he was with our fathers. May he never leave us or abandon us. 58May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways (1 Kings 8:57-58a, EHV)