mother's dayA Special Mother’s Day Message from James Merritt

One of the great joys of ministering to people is being blessed to travel all over the world. I’ve been to almost every continent many times and have met with all kinds of people from many different cultures. While I may not understand a word they are saying to me, I can always see the common human thread of a deep love for momma. Moms are special everywhere, so before I continue forward, let me say Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms who are reading this letter. You are special to me, special to your family and special to God!

I’ve been studying recently about the seven things Jesus said while he hung on the cross for our sins, and one of these statements was specifically to his mother who witnessed the gruesome crucifixion scene. I cannot imagine Mary’s pain as she watched Jesus suffer and die, but I believe she took comfort in Jesus specifically talking to her during his darkest hour.

Let me set the scene for you. Mary is standing near the cross with a few other people, including the Apostle John. Jesus gazes at them from the cross and says:

“Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home (John 19:26b-27 ESV)

Jesus fully understood the need to take care of His family right up to His very last breath, and His example to us is clear—we need to take care of our families for as long as we have breath.

I see three key things in these final words Jesus spoke to His mother. First, I see the need to love our family selflessly. Jesus first saw His mother’s face from the cradle, and now He sees His mother’s face in the middle of a crowd filled with people who hate Him. His selfless love for His mother in the midst of unimaginable pain and suffering is an example to us all. He did not want to leave this world without having one last conversation with His mother.

Second, Jesus teaches us to leave our family thoughtfully. Jesus knew His mother would need support after He departed, so He looked at John and said to him, “Behold, your mother.” He wanted John to treat Mary as his very own mother from this point forward. Jesus knew John would have a long life and would outlive Mary such that he would be able to take care of her until she passed. Jesus’s thoughtful care and provision are an example to follow.

Finally, Jesus shows us how to lead our family spiritually. The Scripture tells us that from the very point where Jesus transfers responsibility of Mary to John, the disciple “took her into his own home.” John was a true believer and disciple, so Jesus knew John would lead His mother spiritually and care for her based on the teachings of God. There were surely other people in Jerusalem that would have taken Mary in, but Jesus wanted a spiritual leader to care for His mother, and who better than the Apostle John for the job?

The reality for all of us is this—we will all one day depart from this earth. Before we go, we should all follow Jesus in loving our family before we leave. During the month of May, the focus is on mom, which is wonderful. But let me ask you to not only focus on mom, but also focus on your entire family. Love them selflessly, be ready to leave them thoughtfully, and never forget to lead them spiritually.

Your Friend,

James Merritt


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Here is a Special Video Message from Margaret Feinberg:

Flourish by Margaret Feinberg from Touching Lives on Vimeo.