This past Sunday was Mother’s Day, and we of course want to honor our moms on this day, but we will also remember that Sunday is the Lord’s Day and we will always keep Jesus as the main focus. This week, we took some time to explore Jesus’s relationship with his mom and family from five interactions that Jesus has with his mom/family that reveal something crucial about who Jesus is.
Jesus had a real family The first story comes at the beginning of Luke’s gospel—the angel appearing to Mary, the birth in Bethlehem, the shepherds prompted by angels worshiping beside the manger. In Luke 2, we are told that Mary treasured these moments, his parents were proud of him, that they belonged to a particular place, and that Jesus had a normal childhood.
Jesus grew and developed The second story comes at the end of Luke 2. Jesus is twelve, and his parents discovered him missing on their way home from the Passover celebration. Jesus was caught up in the moment as he listened to the law being taught in the temple courts. In his own development, and even as he was working out his calling, perhaps this is a moment when he learned a bit more of how his life affected the life of his parents.
Jesus honors his parents The third story is from John 2, about 20 years after Jesus stays in Jerusalem after the Passover. Joseph is no longer alive, and Jesus as the eldest son would have taken over as the breadwinner of the family. Mary has a sense of Jesus’s special calling and abilities. Mary asks Jesus to turn water to wine at a wedding celebration. I love that Jesus honors his mom as a dutiful son and then helps out the couple—these are the little things that show us Jesus’s character—he really was good.
Jesus knew what God called him to do In Mark 3, we see somewhat of a different interaction between Jesus and his family. The demands on Jesus and his disciples were significant, and Jesus’s family was worried. In this passage, Jesus knows who he is, what he believes, and what he is called to do—so he differentiates himself. Jesus did not dishonor his mom, but he also would not allow her to influence him away from his core mission.
Jesus provided for his mom The last story is one of the most tender in all of scripture. Jesus has finished his mission and completed what his father had given him to do—he now hung on a cross. As the eldest son, it was Jesus’s responsibility to care for his mother. He needed to find a home and person to care for her. That person was John the beloved apostle; in John 19:25, Jesus tasks John with caring for his mother.
As we look at Jesus’s interactions with his mom, Jesus shines. Families were God’s idea. Jesus worked out his calling in that family. And the care he shows there, he displays to us, his new family. We have become in Jesus’s words, ‘Jesus’s brother and sister and mother.’