May 9, 2021

Loving mother

Mother’s Day – is important for mother, but so for everyone else!

Recently, we had guests over, and we asked children, how do they know that parents love them? Later I asked my children, more specifically, how do they know that their mom loves them?

Children, what do you think? How do you know that your mother loves you? Some of the responses: gifts, letting you do what you want, cooks… But, still, what is the love of mother? To find the answer, we must turn to the Scripture. We will read a story – a portrait of the loving mother. 4 characteristics of the loving mother:

I. Persistent in prayer (vv. 20-21)

Most likely, it is Salome, the sister of Mary, Jesus’ mother (Mk. 15:40), in other words, Christ’s aunt. It could have been the additional reason that she brought this request to Jesus.

More than anything, commentators like to condemn her request… they join the forces with the rest of the 10 disciples, and they criticize the mother and her sons. But, let us rush into it… (Matt. 19:23-30)

The most important – it is a prayer; only our prayer is to God in heaven, but this mother’s prayer was directed toward the living Christ! This is an example of prayer, where we can learn much for this leady.

First, it is a prayer o request with faith.

Second, it is a prayer about the future and eternity!

Thirds, it is a prayer not about material, but immaterial life.

Fourth, it is a prayer from the child’s heart.

Fifth, it is a prayer for children.

Sixth, it is an expecting prayer! (Luke 18:1-8)

What do modern day mothers pray for? How many mothers are truly interested in the eternal blessings for their children? How much of our prayers are focused on God’s glory? We are so inclined to pray for the physical, for material things, for physical aspects of life…

A loving mother asks of God the most important!!!!

One of the most valuable ministries of every mother is to pray!!

We all know the founders of Methodist movement, John and Charls Wesley, but very few know that there was one person that influenced them so much – therir mother, Susanna Wesley. They had 19 children, and only 9 survived. They were extremely poor, and once her husband was placed in the prison for 3 months, for not paying. She raised her children and did their education. But in the midst of this busy life, she would periodically pause, and she had a kitchen prayer, where she would cover herself with her apron, and create a mini tabernacle/hiding place, where she would just pray! Children grew in the atmosphere, where their mother would regularly pray, and her prayer would be a sort of anchor and center of everything.

A loving mother is a praying mother! Do your children see you pray?

II. Ready to sacrifice (vv. 22-24)

Mother’s love will lead her to risk, to sacrifice, she will be ready to risk everything for the sake of the children – for the sake of her sons, this mother stood up against the rest of the disciples.

An interesting statement – “you don’t know what you are asking… it’s not that they intellectually didn’t understand… they didn’t understand the nature of prayer – it not only depends on Christ and His ability to give what they asked for, but also on their ability to receive the blessings they asked for. And in order for them to be able to receive these blessings, God must prepare them as vessels for a bigger blessing. God must deepend them with suffering, expand with pain, and temper them with torment. After passing through this melt, they will be able to receive the blessings we are talking about.

I cannot give my child a chainsaw, even if he asks for it very earnestly, or give a 6-yer-old child to drive a car… even though he asks for it… he is simply not able to accept this blessings. We sometimes ask for a blessings, for which God must first change and transform us.

How does it happen? Through suffering! This is what the context is about, and this is what we see in almost all people of faith in the Bible. 

Cup – positive (Ps. 23:5), or negative (Is. 51:17-18).

Cup… suffering for Christ’s sake (Acts 12:2; Rev. 1:9).

There is a cup and there is baptism. To drink a cup is a voluntary decision of a person, to live by faith, to renounce this world, to fight against his sin, to strive for Christ, to seek, first of all, the kingdom of God! Baptism is what God will do! He will bring suffering, pain, loss, and defeat. Both talk about suffering.

We need to remember the story that happened to Jesus – his cup was very large. This moment happened in Gethsemane, the garden, which literally translates as the place of grinding/crushing (where olives were ground into a paste, from which the olive oil was obtained). This is the cup of Christ! Even Christ, in order to see the long-lasting offspring in order to receive the nations as a reward, had to go through suffering (Matt. 26:39, 42). We sometimes pray for spiritual blessing, and when God brings sickness, pain, suffering and hardships, we begin to pray for deliverance, thereby never reaching the very blessing for which we asked for.

But here is the mother that takes even more serious risk! It’s one thing when I personally suffer, and totally another thing when one my children suffers… What hurts more? The answer is the suffering of a child. She is ready for that! Abraham knew what it was like…

III. Teaches to serve (vv. 25-27)

And now, Christ picks up the instruction both to the mother and to His disciples on the key principles of healthy relationships – a serving heart! 

Christ explains the key principle of raising children – they need to be taught to serve others. The task of the mother is to instill in her children a serving heart. This is not just being busy with useful activities, but this is the desire and inner longing to help, serve, support those who are in need!

Success, happiness, primacy is when a person puts others above himself.

Christ uses two terms (servant and slave) – if the first speaks about a temporary phenomenon, then the second about constant service without entertainment. It’s a way of life. This is a way of thinking. Hannah, raised Samuel to be sacrificial and serving godly man, and when he needed to tell an inconvenient truth to the priest Ilya, he did it for the good cause. Do you know why Samuel became so sacrificial? He learned this from his mother, who went on the ultimate sacrifice, gave her son into the service!

Christian Schwartz’s mother, dying during childbirth, asked her husband for an unusual promise – “promise me that when your son grows up and God calls him to be a missionary, you will not resist… years have passed, and when, as a young man, he approached his father to ask for a blessing to go to the missions field, the father cried… The fact is that Christian went to India even before William Carry… then they did not about missions at all…

IV. Motivated by the Gospel (v. 28)

This verse is foundation for all parenting and any activity.

There are two elements that motivate any mother: 1) The example of Christ (1 Pet. 2:21-25), 2) The act of grace – we are forgiven of all of our sins. Christ suffered for our redemption (Rom. 5:8)

They tell a story that happened many years ago in England with a young mother, who, during a blizzard, was making her way through the hills of Whales with a small child. She got lost and could not find way out. After a while, the rescuers have found her body, but before she died, she took off all her warm clothes and wrapped the child with it. When the rescuers unwrapped the clothes around the child, they were glad to discover that the child was alive. She gave her life for the child to live. The boy grew up, his name was David Lloyd George, who became the Prime minister of Great Britain. Most likely all his life he lived with the thought that he is alive because his mother gave her life for him… This is how absolutely all believers who have received the forgiveness of sins, live. 

Christ could rightfully appear with the expectation that people will serve Him. But He came to serve, suffer and die for the good of others! This is the value of the Gospel!

Atonement is the payment or ransom that was paid when either a slave or a prisoner experienced the payment by someone else. 

Christ paid the ransom for us (Heb. 9:22-28; 2 Cor. 5:21)

Do we deserve it? No! This is grace!