Everyone knows that motherhood is both good and yet painful at the same time.
As God created, he said that the woman will become a mother, that she is blessed to become so, and that it was all good. God also said that the woman’s motherhood would come through marriage to a man (2:23-25). But then the woman, along with the man, responded sinfully. God and his gifts were not enough (3:1-7). God then responded to this unbelief and assault upon his character by giving the serpent an unmitigated curse: he would receive a mortal blow upon his head, but the man and the woman, though also receiving a curse, would find redemption through a male child who would redeem them back to God (3:15).
The Story of the Bible is centered on Jesus.
Though the Serpent would bruise his heel on the cross, Jesus would crush his head by resurrection. Jesus Wins! And because Jesus wins, all mothers who turn to Christ for redemption find that motherhood is good, but Jesus is better. That’s because motherhood was never meant to be an ultimate experience, or an ultimate goal in life, or provide ultimate value – as if women who don’t bear children have less value than those who do.
By the grace of God, I’m glad to have a mother who, though brought me into the world through pain and had painful episodes in raising me, and had to accept a painful distance of miles since I left home at 17, nonetheless, did not grasp at her motherhood as her god. Jesus is her God.
When explaining the gospel, Jesus uses motherhood to describe how it is that a sinner can be saved. Jesus told one of the wisest religious leaders in Jerusalem that unless he is born again he cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Nicodemus was stumped, saying, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Now if there ever was a Human Anatomy and Biology lesson – this is it. Notice that Nicodemus does not say, “. . . can he be born a second time . . .” He says, “Can he enter a second time . . .” What? Nicodemus acknowledges by implication that it was his father who put him into his mother’s womb the first time. That explains his first birth. How then can this be done again? And that’s the point that Jesus establishes. You Can’t! It was not you who put you into your mother’s womb the first time and it won’t be you who will do it the second time – but the impossible “must” be done. How?
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” – John 3:1-8.
Did you get that? Just as there was a father who put me into my mother’s womb the first time for physical birth, likewise, there must also be a fatherly initiative to birth me into the kingdom. Motherhood is not the gospel – it explains the gospel!
This is Good News – this is the Gospel for all women whether you give birth or not!
This is why I honor my mom on mother’s day. Not only because she gave birth to me, but her motherhood over me did not blind me from seeing Jesus. Too often motherhood becomes more than it was intended. And too often children can become distracted because motherhood is all that some women have. Motherhood is good – but Jesus is better. And when Jesus means more to a mom than her own motherhood, then that’s when we see our own need to be born again.
If you are a mom reading this, whatever you have done, and wherever you are on the spectrum of knowing your need of Jesus, there is always grace to begin explaining the gospel by the way you mother your children. Love Jesus more than them and they will get the picture.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom.