The word ‘mother,’ found from Genesis to Revelation, is mentioned over 300 times!
Honoring our mothers is even seen as part of the fifth of the Ten Commandments, which God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai.
Over and over the importance of mothers is shown; from Eve, the first mother of mankind, to Sarai—renamed Sarah by God—and on all the way to Mary, whom God used as a vessel for the Messiah.
These women paint a beautiful picture of the importance God places in mothers…
The importance they play in all of our lives, no matter if we had ‘good’ mothers, ‘bad’ mothers, ‘adopted’ mothers, ‘surrogate’ mothers, or no mother-figure at all.
Indeed. Mothers not only act as vessels of God’s creation, but they often continue to act as molders, shapers, and caregivers of that creation.
Through each step of our lives, mothers give us a glimpse of the Father’s love.
Mothers in the Word…
Eve, as mentioned above, is the first mother in the Word and therefore the mother of all mankind. No other mother to come—with the exception of Noah’s wife to a degree—has that distinction. Not even Sarah, who became the mother of God’s chosen people, nor Ruth who became the unlikely mother of a line of kings which continued on to Messiah!
So, while Eve holds partial responsibility for the fall of mankind—a responsibility shared with the father of man, Adam, and the first fallen one, Satan—she is also partially responsible for the birthing of nations. For the eventual restoration of us through the life, death, and resurrection of Messiah!
“And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.”—Genesis 3:20
After Eve there would be many wives and mothers to come, yet, while they all hold an importance, some came at great turning points for mankind.
Noah’s wife—whose name is not given in the Word, but Jewish tradition tells it to be Naamah—would become the next mother of mankind. Indeed, while she cannot be the mother of ALL mankind—as many had lived before her—all mankind to follow came through her three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Each of her sons had wives, and from them all, nations and kings would be birthed. Yet, Shem is in the lineage of Jesus, making his wife a mother in the Messianic line… A blessed woman of God to not only have survived the flood but also used as a vessel.
From this woman, this mother, many would come forth. Indeed, Abraham—originally Abram—would come from her some generations to follow; and Sarah—originally Sarai—would become the mother of the Jewish people. The children of Israel.
“Then God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah… And I will bless her and also give you a son by her… and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.’”—Genesis 17:15-16
Yet, God would also use women from outside the line of Abraham and Sarah to bring forth earthly kings, and even the King of kings; unifying Jew and Gentile…
Ruth, for instance, was not in covenant with Naomi’s God in her youth. Further still, she may have even failed to follow Him when she was married to her first husband, Mahlon; for tradition holds that her conversion took place when she declared to Naomi that she would follow her and that Naomi’s God would be her God.
…Entreat me not to leave you,
or to turn back from following after you;
for wherever you go, I will go;
and wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people,
and your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
and there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
if anything but death parts you and me.”—Ruth 1:16-17
Yet, this moment was a turning point even if she had followed God before, because it led her forward…
It led her to meet Boaz, the man that would become her second husband, and father her children. It brought much of her destiny to fruition. That of following God, and being in the lineage of King David—his great-grandmother—and even the lineage of Jesus!
Yet, perhaps the most well-known of all mothers is Mary, whom God used as a vessel for His only begotten Son…
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But… an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary… for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. …she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’
“So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet…”—Matthew 1:18-22
Mary was blessed of God in a way she herself did not wholly understand. She was used as the vessel for God’s most precious treasure; the means of redemption for all mankind—herself included.
“…the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!’”—Luke 1:28
“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”—Romans 3:24
Jesus’ Understanding and Mother’s Day…
Jesus understood the law—the Torah. He obeyed it and taught it; not the traditions of man. Thus, Jesus understood that Mary was to be honored; for He did only what the Father did… honoring Him as He obeyed His laws.
“Jesus answered, ‘…I honor My Father…’”—John 8:49
“… ‘Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, “Honor your father and your mother”; and, “He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.” But you say, “Whoever says to his father or mother, ‘Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God’—then he need not honor his father or mother.” Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.’”—Matthew 15:3-6
Jesus always honored His Father through behaving like Him. So much so, that even as He was dying on the cross, He honored His mother by seeing that she was taken care of…
“When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.”—John 19:26-27
Jesus showed the honor we are meant to give our mothers and fathers even as He was hanging on the cross…
Even while He was in agony—when taking a breath would have been nearly impossible—He did not dismiss God’s law nor the importance of love!
In all things we are to be like our Father; like Jesus.
By obeying God’s commandment, following Jesus in honoring our parents, our mothers… we become more like Him. And it honors God.
That Jesus spent some of His last moments on the cross honoring His earthly mother—in pain and sacrifice—should be to us a sign of the importance of honoring our parents. Of keeping a law that Jesus Himself quoted and believed should be followed; not simply for the promise of blessing, but to emulate the Father!
To love as He did.
May we all, this Mother’s Day—and every day—strive to honor the mothers in our lives; biological, adoptive, and spiritual.
May we grow to be more like Him every day as we honor them. And may it spark within us a greater understanding of the Father’s love; that we may find