This week as I listened to Peter Hollens’ breathtaking rendition of “Mary Did you Know,” it prodded me to think about Mothers Day and Jesus’ mother.
I wondered: Do we truly know what our children are capable of? Do we want to know?
What would you do if an angel told you—before you were pregnant—what your child would become? What if the person who baptized your child told you a piercing, painful truth about the end of your child’s life?
Would you live in fear of the future? Or walk daily by faith, regardless?
I’m in awe of Mary’s faith and obedience when the angel Gabriel announced she would be Jesus’ mother. But I’m equally impressed with how she lived out her faith.
Mary had at least six other children (Mark 6:3). Consensus is she was widowed before Jesus started His ministry. Importantly, she had all the motherly concerns every mother has.
Mark 3 describes how Jesus’ ministry rapidly gained momentum and notoriety. He had healed on the Sabbath (vs 1-5) and cast out demons (vs 11). Crowds followed Him to the point of crushing Him (Mark 3:9). He had appointed His inner circle, the Apostles (Mark 3:13-15).
But, despite what Gabriel, Elizabeth, Anna, and Simeon had said to Mary about her son … despite how Jesus had conducted himself in the Temple when He was twelve, Mary’s motherly instincts kicked in when she saw or heard He was mobbed to the point of not having a chance to eat (Mark 3:20).
Universal mom reaction: worrying “did you eat” as your son rushes from A to B (in my case, soccer games to band practice).
Did Mary prod her other sons to rescue Jesus? Scriptures say they “laid hold of” or “took custody” of Jesus. The Greek word means to seize hold of and put under one’s control. That was a mom’s meddling moment. An unwanted rescue attempt.
What did Jesus do? Shrugged it off. Kept teaching. To Jerusalem’s scribes. The men who wanted to use His Sabbath healing against Him.
Jesus taught while his family waited. Outside.
When someone brought that to His attention, Jesus must have caused a commotion when He asked (Mark 3:33), ““Who is My mother, and who are My brothers?”
We have the New Testament, so we know He was talking in a spiritual sense. But as a mother reacting in the heat of the moment, I can imagine that Jesus’ words stung her.
If I had been in her shoes, my heart would have raced. “This is happening too fast. He’s being too ambitious … even reckless. This will backfire on Him. He’ll get hurt.”
Mary couldn’t have known that the Pharisees had started plotting with the Herodians to kill Jesus (Mark 3:6). But, as a devout Jew, she had a good idea that her son’s actions had caused a stir with Jerusalem’s priests. Moms have a sixth sense about their children. But we aren’t their savior.
History paints Mary as continually serene. That she had life all sorted because she was Jesus’ mother. Blame it on centuries of statues made of her.
I take comfort in chapters like Mark 3. Mary wasn’t immune to life’s ups and downs any more than we are. But she was faithful in training her family up (Proverbs 22:6). She stuck with Jesus, even at the Cross (John 19:25-27). Early historical documents hint that she participated in His ministry.
Aren’t you glad that having faith doesn’t require having your life sorted?
We don’t always understand our children. We fall far short of being perfect parents. But we have a perfect Father in heaven (Deuteronomy 32:4). He makes miracles out of messes (2 Corinthians 4:7). He goes before us and behind us (Isaiah 52:12, Psalm 139:5). And He delights in guiding us when we ask (Micah 7:18, Psalm 16:7). Even when parenting and life seem impossible to navigate.
This Mothers Day may be lonely for many moms. Physical distance, prodigals, or memories of a child who passed far too soon may be on the mind of a mom you know. Please make a point to reach out to her. Let her know she’s appreciated and loved.