Scott Bayles, pastor
First Christian Church, Rosiclare, IL

Today is a special day because we can come together like this as a family for two primary reasons. One is to honor our Lord Jesus Christ. The other is to honor our mothers. Both are lifetime tasks and neither can be confined to a one-hour get-together on Sunday mornings.

I struggled this week to put together a Mother’s day sermon because I don’t suppose that anything has ever been said or ever will be said that is eloquent enough, or expressive enough to articulate the true value of a mother. Few things are more powerful than the tears and prayers of a mother. Few things are more tender and loving than a mother’s hug or compassionate touch. Someone once pointed out that of the sixty-nine kings of France only three were truly loved by their subjects and those three were the only ones reared by their own mothers as opposed to tutors and guardians. What Napoleon said may just be true: “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

So, let me pose a hypothetical question to you: If you had to choose someone else to raise your son or daughter, who would you choose? And why? If you were looking for the perfect mother to leave your one and only child with, who would she be? Would she be wealthy? Would she have other children? Would she be famous or well educated? Mature? Experienced? What would she be like? For God, that question wasn’t hypothetical. When God determined to send His Son to save the world, He had to choose a mother—a mother who would be responsible for the rearing of a God cloaked in human flesh.

As the mother of Jesus, Mary is better known than any other woman in world history and has held a place of highest honor since those days of the manger in Bethlehem. She was hand-selected by the God of the universe to bring the Son of God, our Savior, into the world and to nurture and care for Him until the day of His death on the cross. She’s the Michael Jordan of motherhood, the standard by which parental excellence is measured. So as we honor mothers today, I’d like to take closer look at Mary, the mother of Jesus. What was her life like? What can we learn from her? How do her experiences reflect those of every godly mother to every live before or since?

Let’s start this morning by considering Mary’s surprise.


Mary was living a simple, small-town, secluded life when suddenly everything changed. Mary was shoved from the shadows into the spotlight when an angel appeared to her and said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary; God has shown you his grace. Listen! You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:30-32 NCV).

Mary must have been dumbfounded. All she could manage to say was, “But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin” (Luke 1:34 NLT). Can you imagine her surprise? Her shock? Keep in mind, Mary was probably only about fifteen years