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Sunday, May 11, 2014

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

The Woman Standing in the Shadows


Dotted throughout the New Testament are little statements about the mother of Jesus. Most of them are parenthetical, having nothing to do with the main body of the story; but they are certainly given to us with a purpose. Little statements are made such as “…and the mother of Jesus was there…” and “…Mary the mother of Jesus was there.” By making statements like these, it is apparent that our Lord wanted us to know that His mother was always around.

There is no doubt that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is on the center stage of the Bible. The microphone is in His hand and before His mouth. He is the central figure of the Bible. He is the center of activity. He is the hero of the Bible. While He was doing what He did, the light was directed toward Him. Yet, during everything He did, standing in the shadows was His mother.

It did not matter what our Lord was doing; His mother was there. Think about it! While He was performing a miracle or after He had just performed a miracle, as He cast out a devil, or while He was preaching a sermon about the unpardonable sin, a parenthetical statement in the Bible pointedly says, …the mother of Jesus stood without.”

In John chapter two, Jesus is about to perform His first miracle. Up to this point, He has yet to open a blind eye. He has yet to cause a lame person to leap like a hart or make the dumb to speak. He has yet to raise the dead to life or make the blind to see or the deaf to hear. He has yet to lift someone from a bed of affliction. He is about to perform His first miracle.

The spotlight of eternity is about to focus on Jesus. In John chapter two, before the focus turns to Jesus’ first miracle, notice what the first line of the first verse of the first miracle says, “…and the mother of Jesus was there.” Isn’t that sweet? Isn’t that wonderful? The light is upon Jesus, but the mother of Jesus was there.

The light was upon Jesus when He cast out the devils,…but the mother of Jesus stood without.” When he turned the water into wine and fed the people at the wedding reception, the light was upon Him, but the Holy Spirit led the writer simply to say, “…the mother of Jesus was there.”

In John 19:25, Jesus is on the cross. God in flesh is dying for sin. He Who knew no sin has become sin. The nails are in His hands and feet. The crown of thorns is on His brow, and the Bible says, …now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother.”now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother."

Jesus has gone back to Heaven. He is at the right hand of the Father. The 120 are praying in the upper room. Pentecost is about to come, and 3,000 people are about to be saved and baptized. The power of God is about to fall on that church. The message of Jesus is about to be preached, and in that upper room prayer meeting, the Bible says, “…and the mother of Jesus…” was there. You could count on His mother because she was always there.

Jesus did not pay His mother much attention because He was so busy, but she was always there. It must have been a great comfort and strength to our Lord when He looked out and saw His mother in the crowd. The mother of Jesus was that little unseen soldier. She was that one of whom not much is said in the Bible. She was that silent little lady from Nazareth. She was that poor, humble girl from the hills of Nazareth. She was that little lady who came to Bethlehem and found no room in which to deliver her baby except in a stable.

The light is rarely ever shined upon Jesus’ mother. She rarely gets to the microphone, but she is always in the shadows. When Jesus performed a miracle, Mary was standing in the crowd. The Bible says of Mary, “…she pondered all these things in her heart.” Isn’t that something! She never said much. She just pondered these things in her heart.

This is the way of all great mothers. This ERA crowd and this masculine female crowd are in total opposition to the Bible pattern of a great woman. When a boy or girl has a mother who stands obscurely in the shadows praying, disciplining, hoping, teaching, working, doing without, and weeping, there is a greater likelihood that the young person will become a giant for God.

Think about it! How many great preachers had fathers that were not right with God, but they had mothers standing somewhere in the shadows? These mothers were always there. I could list name after name of great men of God who had dads that were drunkards, derelicts, and lawbreakers; but I could not name you two great men of God whose mothers were drunkards, derelicts, or lawbreakers.

Jochebed was in the shadows at the Nile River, protecting the life of her son Moses. Elizabeth was in the shadows behind the one about whom the Bible says, “…Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist….” 

The rich men brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus, but Mary stayed in the shadows. Simon picked up the baby Jesus and said, “…now let thy servant depart in peace…”, while Mary was in the shadows. Anna saw Jesus and was so pleased that she praised and worshipped Him, but Mary stood in the shadows.

The light shined upon Jesus in Luke chapter two while he questioned the doctors, lawyers, and the teachers, but Mary stood in the shadows. When Jesus cast out devils, Mary stood in the shadows. While Jesus was on the cross, Mary was there in the shadows.

Then something happened. Suddenly the floodlights of the Scripture were turned on the one in the shadows. As all of eternity looked on, the focus was turned from the Son of God, as He was dying on the cross, to a little lady, when Jesus said, “…Behold thy mother.” 

All of a sudden, the spotlight is turned away from the Son of God and placed on the one who usually stood in the shadows. It should not be considered strange to preach the Gospel for 364 days and then take one day to shine the light upon the ones who normally stand in the shadows.  Happy Mother's Day!

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