As we honor mothers on Mother’s Day, we are reminded that the tasks that a mother performs often go unnoticed, however when they are not done, everyone notices.
God gives each of us assignments in life, one of the most important is that of being a godly mother.
In his final moments Jesus gave assignments to two men, John and Peter.
In John 19: 26-30, we read the well-known account of the crucifixion, the worst and the best day in all human history as Jesus gave his life for our sins. As he was about to die, Jesus turns to Mary and John, the disciple he loved, and says, “here is your son”, “here is your mother”.
Jesus doesn’t simply ask John to look after his mother, he connects them as family and John took Mary into his home. At this time Mary was probably in her late forties and we assume that she was already widowed and had no way of supporting herself in that culture.
For Jesus, this was not an afterthought, it was part of his plan. Jesus never did anything without a definite purpose (See John 19:28). Jesus was not finished until he had taken care of his mother, in this he displayed the importance and value of caring for our mothers.
He entrusted his mother to John and in so doing, he honored his mother (see Ephesians 6:1-3).
In Ephesians 6, Paul taught the 5th commandment to the Gentile church in Ephesus, the only commandment with a promise, “that is may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
We know that the children of Israel were the recipients of this law and it directly pointed them to the promised land that awaited them, but the principle of God is still the same, there is a blessing in honoring our parents.
This 5th commandment is not directed only to children, but to adults, honoring parents as we become adults, as we become parents and as they age.
Jesus honored his mother by ensuring that she is well cared for. Jesus gave John this assignment and the Bible tells us that he did as he was asked.
This takes us to the second assignment, the assignment that Jesus gave to the Apostle Peter in Matthew 16:13-20. Jesus and his disciples are making their way to Jerusalem, and as they come into the region of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asks this question, “who do you say that I am?”, the most important question that we all must answer.
Peter, the bold disciple, inspired by the Holy Spirit, says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus affirms Peter’s declaration and makes a profound statement in verse 18, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
In the Greek language, Jesus uses the word “Petros” for Peter, which means small stone. And then he says, “and on this rock I will build my church”, the Greek word Jesus used for rock is “Petra”, which is a much bigger rock or a bedrock.
Jesus is saying that Peter is one of the small stones, but the foundation of the church was the message that Peter was to declare, the foundation of the church is the Gospel message, the Good news of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, the son of the living God, which make a way for us to be righteous before God.
Jesus assigned Peter to declare the Gospel, and this is also the first time in the Bible that we see the word, “Church” used in the New Testament.
In verse 19, Jesus tells Peter, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom”. We use keys to open doors; these keys are not keys to open doors in heaven. Peter was given the keys to opening the door of faith in people by sharing the Gospel message. The key to the kingdom is the proclamation of the gospel. This is the role and responsibility of the church, to share the good news about Jesus Christ to unlock the hearts by faith as the Holy Spirit takes the message and transforms lives.
The Jewish rabbis often spoke of “binding and loosing,” meaning forbidding or permitting.
Jesus’ statement later included all the Apostles, as the representatives of their Lord, they would exercise authority according to His Word.
Verse 19 is frequently confused, and the Greek verbs for binding and loosing are crucial to our understanding. Both verbs, binding and loosing are in the perfect passive tense. This means that it is an already completed work. So, the original Greek translates as follows, “And whatever you bind on earth [forbid to be done], shall have been already bound … in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth [permit to be done], shall have already been loosed in heaven.”
Thus, Jesus is saying that Peter is to declare what God has already done in Heaven. Jesus did not say that God would obey what the Apostles declared on earth, but that the Apostles should do on earth whatever God had already willed. The church does not get man’s will done in heaven; it obeys God’s will on earth.
For Peter, this sounds like a mighty calling.
So, who got the more important role? Peter or John?
The keys to the kingdom or caring for a widow
We tend to view value or importance by the number of people influenced.
For example, don’t we view the CEO of a large company as being much more important than a CEO of a small company?
Surely, Billy Graham who preached to hundreds of thousands of people must have been more important than the unnamed preacher who walks the streets in India?
We tend to look for the impact or the influence, but God doesn’t look at influence, God looks at obedience.
We as those who have submitted ourselves to the lordship of Jesus Christ, daily need to be asking the Lord for direction and assignments. Sometimes the Lord asks us to do things that make a big noise in the world. Other times we are asked to do things that no-one notices, but God does!
So, who had the more important role, Peter or John? Both were equally important, both were equipped by God for the task that they had to do.
In the Kingdom of God as His children, there are no levels of importance, there is only obedience and disobedience to the calling of God on your life.
What is God inviting you to do with him?
(See Ephesians 4:11-12)