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Jesus had no earthly father, but He had a mother. She was of the creation, but she had the Creator within her. She gave birth to One who had no beginning (John 1:1; Hebrews 7:3). She gave life to the Life (John 14:6). Her eyes were the first to see the Maker of eyes. Her ears were the first to hear the voice that spake a universe into being (Psalm 33:6; John 1:3). Her hand first touched the fingers that formed Adam from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:1-7). She changed the changeless One (Hebrews 13:7). She taught the Word words (John 1:1-3). She taught Omniscience how to count. She carried Omnipotence. She suckled the living water (John 4:10; John 7:37). She fed the Bread of Life (John 6:35). She healed the hurts of the One who would heal hearts (Luke 4:18). She showed the Healer of cripples how to walk (John 5:8). She will at last be judged by Him, but He was at first taught by her (2 Corinthians 5:10).
What lessons can we learn from such a remarkable person?
A Mother's Pain
Sometimes it is hard to be a mother. It's not all smiles and kisses and blue ribbons and passing grades and starting teams and choice jobs and good boyfriends and happy marriages. They sometimes step on our hearts as they once stepped on our toes (cf. Galatians 6:9; Ephesians 3:13).
Diana Allen nicely sums up the sentiment of many mothers in a poem called I Quit. After explaining the hardships of parent-hood, she concludes, There will be days when I'll still hunt through the yellow pages for the number for the Mother's Resig-nation Hotline or my heart will feel as though it has been shattered into a thousand pieces. One thing is sure, however: I have to hang on, to stand firm, to fight the good fight. The souls of my children and the quality of the lives they live here on earth is at stake - and so is their eternity. My children are too precious for me to do anything but persevere (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:58; 2 Thessalonians 3:13; Hebrews 12:3).
When Mary and Joseph brought the child Jesus into the temple, Simeon told Mary, A sword shall pierce through your own soul also (Luke 2:35). Consider the pain that Mary experienced.
When she was discovered with child, she began to suffer shame and reproach (cf. Luke 1:39, Luke 1:56; John 8:41). Her pregnancy was misunderstood and the neighbors gossiped about her. Jesus was considered an illegitimate son. The accusations persisted. Even at the cross it was staring her in the face. The statement above His head, Jesus of Nazareth, instead of Jesus son of Joseph meant (to a Jew) that Jesus' birth was suspect. When a Jewish boy's parents were not married nine months before his birth, the father could not claim the boy as his son - which usually hap-pened at the age of twelve. Then the boy would be known by the name of the city where he grew up. Pilate mocked the Jews by writing, in effect, Your King is an illegitimate son. God Himself was Jesus' father, or course, through the virgin birth.
She suffered the hardship of poverty. She was married to Joseph, a poor carpenter (cf. Matthew 20:2). Their poverty is seen inad-vertently in several places. She gave birth to the Lord Jesus in a lowly stable (Luke 2:7). She offered a poor man's sacrifice when it came time for her to offer for her baby (Luke 2:24; cf. Leviticus 12:1-6). It would seem that at the time of the crucifixion she had no home (John 19:26-27).
Innocent children died because of her Son Jesus (Matthew 2:16-18). Although she and Joseph and Jesus fled from Bethlehem to Egypt to escape the sword of Herod, other children did not es-cape. We wonder how Mary felt when she heard that report. She rejoiced that her child was delivered, but she must have felt the sword in her when she thought of all the mothers who had no babies to hold.
She had to live in a foreign culture for two years. Many more preachers would be missionaries but they, their wives, or their families cannot come to grips with leaving homeland for a place of strange speech and society. How did this teenage girl, now a new wife and mother, handle Egyptian markets, customs, and landlords?
She lost her Son for three days when He was twelve (Luke 2:49). I once lost a four year old at a theme park for ten minutes and could hardly bear it. Joseph and Mary lost Jesus, and it was only after they had gone a day's journey that they missed Him. They did not find him until the third day. How could a mother spend three days not knowing if her son was safe? Mary asked with a tenderness that perhaps had in it a touch of impatience if not of anger, Why have you treated us like this? We have sought thee sorrowing . Did you not know, came the reply of Jesus, that I must be about my Father's business? You should have known where to find me since my first and supreme loyalty is not to you, but to God. In spite of her love for Him, she could never quite understand Him (Luke 2:50). We see the first indication of this lack of understanding here, but it persists through the story.
She suffered the pain of being on the outside looking in. Though she found her Son and was privileged to have Him with her after this for almost a score of years, yet there was a sense in which she failed to ever get Him back. Therefore she could never feel that He was altogether hers. The psalmist said it so eloquently, I have become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother's children (Psalm 69:8). On occasions, He seems to have refused to make time for them (Luke 8:19-21).
This lack of understanding shows up again at the wedding at Cana (John 2). Mary and Jesus were both present, though as we read between the lines it would seem that they did not come to-gether (cf. John 2:1-2). When the wine ran out, Mary said to Jesus, They have no wine. His answer seems downright shocking. He said: Woman, what have I to do with you? Albert Barnes says of this phrase:
This expression is sometimes used to denote indignation or contempt (see Judges 11:12; 2 Samuel 16:10; 1 Kings 17:18; Matthew 8:29). But it is not probable that it denoted either in this place; if it did, it was a mild reproof of Mary for attempting to control or direct him in his power of working miracles. Most of the ancients supposed this to be the intention of Jesus. The words sound to us harsh, but they might have been spoken in a tender manner, and not have been intended as a reproof.