Apprentice to Jesus – Mother’s Day
Good morning and welcome to our Mother’s Day service. Isn’t it great that we set aside a day in the year where we choose to honour mothers. Now, I had a crazy conversation with Tim in the middle of the night just recently, it was, I think, the early hours of the morning, about 4 o’clock in the morning and we’ve got to the age where we randomly find ourselves wide awake at random times. I’m sure it is an age-related thing, but anyway, Tim was wide awake, I was wide awake and Tim just suddenly said to me “I can’t remember the Ten Commandments”. What a random thing to come out with in the middle of the night and so we were discussing the Ten Commandments. I said, well, there’s one I’m really certain about and that’s the one that says, “Honour your father and your mother” and he said to me “no, that’s not one of the Ten Commandments”. It’s not. It is. it’s one of the Ten Commandments because it’s one that comes with a promise “Honour your father and your mother that you may live a long time”. And so, the discussion continued, but today is the day that we take to honour our mothers because it is something that the Bible tells us to do. I know traditionally Mother’s Day comes from the tradition of the church, Mothering Sunday. My mother always insisted that I call it Mothering Sunday not Mother’s Day and that’s to do with the tradition of the church. But it’s now become one of those days where we do just love to honour our mothers and also just to honour what motherhood really means. For those of you who are mothers, you’re doing a great job and thank you for all that you are doing. And for those of you also who perhaps aren’t mothers, but there are people in your life that I’m sure that you are pouring out your kindness and your generosity upon and you are in a sense mothering, although they are not your children – thank you to for all that you are doing.
As it’s Mother’s Day, I thought I would have a look today at an example of a mother that we can find from the Bible. Of course, it’s an easy choice, I’ve gone with Mary, the mother of Jesus. Let’s take some time today to look at the life of Mary and what we can learn from her as a mother. There’s a lot that we can learn from her, but I’ve just picked out four points today that we can learn from her. So, what can we learn from Mary well?
The first thing that we can learn comes from a little little snippet of a verse in the book of Luke chapter 2 verse 19. It says this:
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19 NIV
Now “these things” in this particular example, what is being referred to in the Scriptures is talking about the events and the words that were spoken all around Jesus’s birth. There was so many incredible and miraculous things that took place around the birth of Jesus and it was “these things” that Mary treasured up and pondered over. She stored them in her heart and so these were events and things that were spoken that actually happened, but we get the impression when we look at the life of Mary that she was somebody who actually treasured and pondered the Word of God, that she took that into her heart. Actually, a real very, very vivid part of her life was the fact that she had taken the Scriptures and taken them into her heart prior to anything else that happened in her life. We don’t know that for a fact but when we look at the song that she sings after the Angel visits her and tells her that she is the one who has chosen to carry the Saviour of the world and bring the Saviour of the world into the world, she sings this incredible song, and this song demonstrates that she is somebody who has spent a lot of time pondering and treasuring the Word of God, that she has spent time with the Word of God and that she knows God. It isn’t just her first encounter with God, but she really does know something about God. She knows about the plans and the purposes that he has and the designs that he has and so she sings this song. It’s in Luke chapter 1 verses 46 to 55, looking at that we can see that she really did understand and know something of God. She strikes me as being a person very, very like the description that we get in Psalm 1 verses 1 to 3:
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Psalms 1:1-3 NIV
I get the impression Mary was like this, one who took delight in the law of the Lord and one who meditated on his Word. I like that word meditate and I’ve been thinking a lot about the meaning of the word. What does it mean to meditate on God’s Word? I like to think of it a little bit like ruminating. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched a sheep eat but they chew and they chew and chew their jaw going from side to side to side a bit like chewing chewing gum and they are ruminating over the same pieces of grass. It’s part of the digestive process for them. They ruminate and they seem to be chewing and chewing and chewing for ages and I think that’s a really good picture of what it means to meditate. It’s to take hold of a tasty morsel of God’s Word and to chew over and chew over and chew over and mull it over and get all the best goodness out of it. It’s each individual’s responsibility to choose to, in a sense, eat of the Word of God, to choose to take on the goodness of what God offers us in his in his Word. It’s our responsibility, each of us as individuals, to get hold of God’s Word and to meditate on it, to ruminate over it for ourselves. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13 verse 11:
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 1 Corinthians 13:11
That’s just a great picture, isn’t it, of that growing in responsibility, that it comes a time in life where we do just have to take responsibility for ourselves, take responsibility for our own meditation on God’s Word. No one can do that for you, it’s up to each one of us that we meditate on God’s Word ourselves.
1. Hide his Word in our hearts.
So, going back to Mary, what can we learn from her? She was one who clearly treasured and pondered on God’s Word. I believe she meditated on God’s Word and so like her we can hide God’s Word in our heart. Psalm 119 verse 11, great place to start if you want to look at the power of what God’s Word can do in your life. But Psalm 119 verse 11 actually says:
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 NIV
Hiding God’s Word in our hearts helps to protect us in the way that we walk and in our walk with God that we might not sin against him. So, let’s learn that from Mary today, to hide his words in our hearts and meditate on his Word.
What else can we learn from Mary? There’s a great story in the book of John Chapter 2, and I’m going to read the whole story for you:
1 On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, 2 and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”
4 “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.
8 Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”
They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”
11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
John 2:1-11 NIV
2. Go to Jesus for help
I love this interaction that we get with Mary at the start. When the wine has all gone – how embarrassing I’m sure that situation was, Mary goes to Jesus and says to him, they have no more wine. Jesus is like well, what’s that to do with me and it really amused me because I think I can understand this interaction, it feels like it’s quite relevant to me at the moment. I have adult sons and as a mother, I believe completely in them and in the capacity of what I believe they have to do and the skills that they have and so on. I think Mary felt like that about Jesus, she completely believed in him and she was really sure of who He was and what He was capable of, so she goes to Him and says these people they need your help here and Jesus is like “mother stop interfering”! It’s the sort of thing I could imagine my son saying to me, stop interfering mother, it’s not my time. And yet Mary just goes ahead and says to the servants do whatever he tells you to do. But what can we learn from Mary in this particular situation? Well, we can learn from her that we can go to Jesus for help. I love the fact that Mary went to Jesus for help not for herself, but actually for the sake of others. I think it’s something we can do for the sake of others, we can go to Jesus for help and that is something that just brings so much more or brings miracles into our lives and so much more of him into our lives.
There’s a great verse, Psalm 34 verse 17 that says:
The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. Psalm 34:17 NLT
Isn’t that amazing, more than Him just hearing, it also says He rescues them from all their troubles. Isn’t that great, that we can go to Jesus for help and especially for the sake of others. Let’s learn from Mary, let’s do that, go to Jesus for help. He hears us and He rescues.
3. Encourage each other to listen and do whatever Jesus tells us to do.
Carrying on with the story, Mary just said to the servants “do whatever He tells you to do”. There’s quite a lot of audacity in that, the fact that she just says to them, you know, regardless of what Jesus had just said, she says to them, do whatever He tells you to do. And the servants, they did as they were told, and actually what they were told to do was something so very, very simple. They were just told to fill the jars with water and so often the instructions that we are given that Jesus does give us are actually quite simple. I love what the servants do – they don’t fill these jars half-heartedly. It says that they fill them to the brim. I get the sense that they did their very best, it wasn’t just half-hearted, just half of it – they filled it to the brim. Though these are very simple instructions, they did their very best with the instructions that they were given. That teaches us something, when Jesus gives us instructions, we should wholeheartedly do our very best to fulfil them. But we need to listen for His instructions and this is something that we can learn from Mary here. She instructed the servants and said, do whatever He tells you to do and we should encourage one another to do that too, to listen for those instructions and to do whatever it is that Jesus tells us to do, however simple or even however complex it might be. We can encourage one another to listen those instructions.
Where do we find those instructions? Well, most often we find those instructions in the Bible. I was reminded of a song that suddenly came into my head when I was preparing this and it’s a play on the letters BIBLE, which some say stand for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, apparently, from Jesus. Basic Instructions in the Bible, and that’s where we can find the instruction from Jesus, by listening to His Word, we can encourage one another, encourage one another to listen.
Proverbs 1 verse 33, this is one of my absolute favourite verses in the Bible and I’m sure I’ve quoted it on many times before now, it says:
But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm. Proverbs 1:33 NIV
I just find that so reassuring. We need to listen to what it is that Jesus is wanting to say to us because it keeps us safe. But more than that, we all need to do what He’s asking us to do, not just to listen but to do.
4. Remain Faithful
What else can we learn from Mary? This is my fourth and final point. Another story about Mary:
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. John 19:25 NIV
This is much later on in the book of John that we find this story. Jesus is on the cross and these three Marys are there with him at the cross, including his mother. Mary did not abandoned Jesus in his darkest hour. Most of Jesus’s friends had left Him by this time and they were no longer anywhere in the vicinity that He was but Mary was still there by His side as He was hanging on the cross. It’s quite a contrast really when we think of Mary if we contrast her with Peter. Peter adamantly promised Jesus that he would not deny Him and Jesus said to him, Peter you will, and Peter did. As Jesus was under trial and Peter was standing in the courtyard, a young lady said to him, aren’t you one of them and he was like nope, nope, I don’t know I don’t know this Jesus and completely denied Jesus. I remember reading that story as a young Christian myself following Jesus and I remember thinking how did Peter, who declared his love for Jesus and was so you know so fervent in following Jesus. And I was thinking I love Jesus, I would never deny that I know Jesus and in that moment of just thinking about that story, I was sitting in our living room and I looked out the window and there was a gentleman, a farmer, over the road opening the gate and going into the field. I felt God say to me just go and go and tell him about me and I was like, no, I can’t do that, panic, complete panic, I can’t do that. I just felt God drop into my spirit that actually it’s quite easy for any of us to deny Jesus. It was a real pull me up of saying, don’t be too cocky, do be aware that actually that could come times in your life where you will feel that it is a real stretch of pride or putting your neck on the line to actually acknowledge me. I didn’t go and tell that gentleman about Jesus, it was a lesson in itself to me that actually any of us could quite easily deny Jesus and it’s far more of a challenge that we, like Mary, stay beside Him even when things get tough, even when it’s uncomfortable, we should stick by Him. So, from Mary, we can learn this sense of her always being faithful to Him. I think as a mother, it’s very very difficult for you to abandon your child. There’s a verse in Isaiah 49 verse 15 where it says:
Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! Isaiah 49:15 NLT
That’s just talking about God at the end there, but it is actually very unnatural for a mother to forget her child and so it would have been very unnatural for Mary to have abandoned Jesus, especially as she’s so completely believed in who He was. She had been with Him right from the start all the way through his life. She knew who He was and obviously His birth was so dramatic, she knew who He was. Her belief helped her to remain faithful right until the end, she stuck by Him right to the end. This verse in Matthew 10 verse 32, it says:
Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. Matthew 10:32
So, when it does get tough, you know that we can feel very vulnerable in acknowledging our love for Jesus, we should remember that when it is tough and we acknowledge Him, He acknowledges us before our Father in heaven and that’s really encouraging. So, when it is tough, keep acknowledging Jesus, He is faithful to us, so we should remain faithful to Him. Great lessons from Mary and I’m just going to pray to conclude today.
Jesus, I thank you for all that we have learned today. I thank you for Mary and the lessons that we’ve learned from her and today, Lord Jesus, we ask that you would help us to meditate on your Word, to hide your words in our hearts, to remember that we can come to you at any time when we need help. Lord, help us to listen to you and to do the things the instructions that you give us. Help us to do the things you give us to do and do them well, to the best of our ability. Lord, it’s in our heart that we remain faithful to you, so Holy Spirit, we ask today that you would help us to always be faithful to our Lord and Saviour and to acknowledge Him in every situation in our lives. Thank you for being a part of our lives and thank you for the journey that you are taking us on. You are good and you fill our lives with good things so we praise you. Thank you today in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Well, thank you for joining us today and I hope you have a wonderful day enjoying Mother’s Day.