They have power. Oh, yes—these women we call “Momma.”
This year’s spending for Mother’s Day is expected to hit a record $25 billion according to the National Retail Federation. But the holiday stands for something far greater than gift-giving. Our mothers shape our lives, wielding their influence in countless ways. And don’t think that our Lord missed out. Even Jesus had a momma.
Let me show you a conversation between Mary and her son. It will give you a good sense of the power inside the woman who reared our Lord, and the influence she had over him. It’s perhaps a bit funny, though not for Jesus.
But first, remember that our Lord has no trouble turning people down. Jesus says no to John the Baptist when John feels that Jesus should be baptizing Him. He says no to Legion, who has just been healed of his demons and wants to get in the boat and sail away with Jesus. He says no to James and John, who hope to sit beside him in heaven.
Jesus says no to the Pharisees who seek a sign. He says no to the disciples who want to send the hungry crowds away. He says no to Peter again and again: Peter wants him to not die, Peter wants to wash his feet, Peter wants to fight for Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. No.
Now look at an early conversation Jesus has with Mary. Momma is a different story.
It’s probably just after Jesus’ baptism and before his ministry begins. Our Lord is at a wedding when his mother approaches him.
“They have no wine,” she says.
Just four words, but it’s all that’s needed—Jesus gets it. How can a celebration continue if there’s nothing to drink?
“Woman,” Jesus says, “what does your concern have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4 NKJV)
This isn’t his problem. He doesn’t want to get involved.
Mary then either summons the servants or already has them in tow. She tells them to do whatever Jesus says.
The servants don’t go to their master to get approval, nor does Mary ask if it’s OK to order someone else’s servants around. Instead, she tells these men how it’s going to go and they obey her. See what I mean? Mary is a force.
This is the sort of funny part. Our Lord has made it clear that he doesn’t want her pressing him, that the timing is bad for him. But, this is his momma. We’ve all been there. Right?
Like us, he might very well have sighed as he stepped forward to do his momma's bidding. He tells the servants to fill six containers with water and to draw some for the master of the feast.
The master of the feast immediately calls for the bridegroom saying, “You have kept the good wine until now!” (John 2:1ff. NKJV)
It’s interesting. It certainly looks like Mary persuaded Jesus against his will. And perhaps she is the only one who ever could.
Wait, you say! Remember that Jesus said no to a Gentile woman seeking help for her child and then healed the child. Yes, but Jesus wanted to do that; he’s pleased with her faith. (Matthew 15:28) There’s no indication he ever wanted to turn the water into wine.
Stay with me. Now look at this second story with Mary.
Time has passed, Jesus has healed many, and his ministry has become controversial. Religious leaders travel from Jerusalem to warn that he’s casting out demons because he’s the prince of demons. His family, overwhelmed by the spectacle, wants to bring him home. They say, “He is out of his mind.” (Mark 3:21 NIV) In fact, at one large assembly, Jesus is told that his mother and brothers are outside wanting Him.
Look at what our Lord does.
Jesus doesn’t go out, not even to see his mother. Instead, our Lord glances around the room.
“Here are my mother and my brothers!” He says. “For whoever does the will of God is my brother and my sister and mother.” (Mark 3:34-35 NKJV)
It’s a rebuke, and it’s directed squarely at his family.
They’ll be told of his words. Yes, it feels harsh, but Jesus needs for them to focus on God’s will. Our Lord cannot turn back—not even for his momma.
Today is Mother’s Day. Remember these two stories of Jesus with his mother and be careful.
Always use your power with your children to point them to God. Never to guide them against his will.
The Rev. R.A. Mathews is an attorney, faith columnist, and the author of “Reaching to God.” She can be reached at Letters@RAMathews.com. Copyright (c ) 2019 R.A. Mathews