May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of all our hearts be acceptable in thy sight- Our King, our Strength,and our Redeemer.
Today is the fourth Sunday in Lent,and in this country is also known traditionally as Mothering Sunday.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all mothers, in fact everyone here today a very happy Mothers Day!
Our Gospel today incidentally from John 19 verses 19 to 20 does involve the Mother of Jesus, and other women so let us look into our Manual,the Bible and see what we can learn from their examples.
John 19:25-27. Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
At the time of Jesus' death on the cross the bible tells us of the people who were close to him and had stayed by His side.
John.'the disciple Jesus loved',
His mother's sister, Salome
Mary the wife of Cleopas
and Mary Magdalene.
It's interesting to look at these people and see how their lives were impacted by Jesus.
1. Going back a few days we remember the scene in the room when Jesus and the disciples held 'the last supper' together. During the meal when Jesus mentioned that they would all desert Him when He was taken, Peter boasted that, “he would never do that. The other's might, but not him!” He was full of belief in 'his love for Jesus'. At the meal was another disciple who is called 'the one that Jesus loved' but his boast, if you like, was in Jesus' love for him!
And when Jesus was crucified, Peter was nowhere to be seen but 'the one that Jesus loved' was at His feet. And it was to this disciple that Jesus entrusted His mother's care after His death. In this is a lesson for us. Let us boast not in our own abilities and our love but rather, in “Jesus Christ and his love!”
2. Next Jesus' mother Mary. At the beginning of Jesus' ministry it was Mary who told the servants at the wedding in Cana to do whatever Jesus said.
Oddly enough Jesus had previously said that His time was not yet.
This information had to come from His Father, God, because Jesus only said what He heard from the Father. But shortly thereafter God gave Jesus the go-ahead to transform water into wine for the wedding.
This was Jesus' first miracle and came about because His mother had an expectation to see the promise she had in Jesus come to fruition. She was there at he beginning and at the end. We also should have the expectation of seeing God's promises come to fruition. (With this living hope inside us, we as Jesus' disciples can show unbelievers the miracle that is Jesus. etc)
3. His mother's sister. This is believed to be Salome, wife of Zebedee and the mother of James and John. From this linkage we can see perhaps why she had a love for Jesus and why she asked Him to put her sons at His right and left in the kingdom. Since, at this time none of His brothers were in the ministry she may have felt that her sons as Jesus' closest relatives ought to be in the top positions as his kin! Whatever her reasoning she was not afraid to be aligned with Jesus and was there supporting her sister Mary and Jesus at his Crucifixion.
We believers have been made kin, brothers and sisters of Jesus and like Salome should not be ashamed to be associated with Jesus and we should expect to be in the kingdom; but of course knowing that our roles in the kingdom are up to God to decide. We are just to make ourselves available!
4. Mary the wife of Cleopas. This Mary was also the mother of two disciples of Jesus but not ones in the inner circle. She though, was one who had a close relationship with Jesus and His mother and so, as we see, was also at the foot of the cross.
A few days later, on the Sunday when Jesus was resurrected, Cleopas and I believe his wife Mary were on their way home to Emmaus when a stranger attached himself to them! These two disciples were the first to get a detailed exposition of the reason for our hope in the Messiah, Jesus.
One important thing to note;
Jesus explained everything about himself from the scriptures. Jesus did not just make himself known as having risen again! It is significant that the Bible relates everything we need to understand about the Messiah;
why He was born;
why He had to die;
why He was buried;
why He rose again from the dead;
and how He is seated on the right hand of the Father making intercession for us; is all to be found in the Bible.
We have not been left with a 'second best' gospel because we do not have Jesus personally teaching us as He did the twelve. In fact Jesus said in John, Chapter 14, that it was better for us that He went away and sent the Holy spirit to be our internal guide, 24/7/365!
So let's give others the knowledge that true Christianity is in knowing Jesus through His word, our manual the bible, and through Holy Spirit within us .
5. Next was Mary Magdalene. This was the lady from whom Jesus had cast the demons and who became one of His staunchest disciples. If we 'fast forward' from the crucifixion to the Sunday when Jesus rose from the dead we find Mary visiting the tomb where He was placed.
Mary thought she was talking to the gardener but then found out it was Jesus himself!
When she was overcome with joy on realising that Jesus was alive and wanted to cling on to Him, Jesus told Her that He had yet to go and see His Father, God, but that she should go ahead and tell the other disciples that he was alive and ascending to the Father. So interestingly Mary (a woman) was the first evangelist of the New Testament era, spreading the good news that, “JESUS IS ALIVE!
Jesus said that, “one who has been forgiven much will love much”. We can see this in the life of Mary Magdalene.
We also should be like her. We have been forgiven much. We should develop the same loving relationship with Jesus as Mary and the disciple whom Jesus loved. You see, we also are disciples whom Jesus loves. We should be standing at the foot of the cross, and like Mary, let us out of our love for Jesus, spread the 'good news' in all our spheres of influence.
The wonderful, almost too good to be true news that;
JESUS IS ALIVE.