Summary: Here's a sermon to preach on Mothers Day.
1 I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea,
2that you may receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also.
3Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus,
4who risked their own necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
5Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ.
6Greet Mary, who labored much for us.
7Greet Andronicus and Junia, my countrymen and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
8Greet Amplias, my beloved in the Lord.
9Greet Urbanus, our fellow worker in Christ, and Stachys, my beloved. 10Greet Apelles, approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus.
11Greet Herodion, my countryman. Greet those who are of the household of Narcissus who are in the Lord.
12Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, who have labored in the Lord. Greet the beloved Persis, who labored much in the Lord.
13Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
14Greet Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren who are with them.
15Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints who are with them.
16Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.
Of the 26 people who Paul singles out for his personal greeting,
6 were women.
Now that is interesting,
since Paul has frequently gotten a bum rap
for being a male chauvinist.
I think it also shows us the tremendous influence
that women had in the early church.
Paul could not describe the church in Rome…
without mentioning the significant role of women.
Verse 13 is one that Bible scholars have struggled with.
Paul writes: "Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
This statement could be taken 2 ways.
It could mean that Paul had 2 women in mind—
the mother of Rufus and his own personal mother.
Or, he could be saying: "I salute Rufus and his mother, who is like a mother to me."
I believe that is what he meant.
That raises some interesting questions.
#1 When and where did Paul meet Rufus’ mother?
#2 Did she nurse him through some serious illness?
#3 Did Paul stay in her home during his missionary journeys?
#4 How did this woman and Paul form such a close bond?
#5 Why does he refer to her fondly as being like his mother?
The Gospel of Mark tells us that Simon of Cyrene,
the man who carried Jesus cross,
had 2 sons: Alexander and Rufus.
Was this the same Rufus Paul mentions here?
If he is, his mother would be Simon of Cyrene’s wife.
No one knows for sure who this remarkable woman was
who served as a mother figure for Paul,
but it really makes no difference.
What Paul writes makes an excellent Mother’s Day sermon.
Some people think Mother’s Day is sentimental foolishness.
We must admit that there is sentiment to this day,
but what is wrong with that?
A little bit of sentiment is healthy.
There are some women in the Bible…
who present poor examples of motherhood.
There are women today who abandon, abuse,
and corrupt their children and who create a poor model,
but these are the exceptions.
Most mothers do the right thing and deserve recognition.
So this morning I would like to join Paul…
and salute all of the mothers who are with us.
Point #1 Mothers should be saluted for their persistent love.
Let me give you an example.
I have noticed something when I’ve been at a hospital.
Waiting rooms wear out fathers a whole lot quicker than mothers.
Fathers become impatient and go in and out,
but mothers stick it out.
A mother's love simply cannot be denied.
We read in the Old Testament a story about Rizpah.
Rizpah was not a very nice woman.
She had 2 illegitimate sons by King Saul.
Later, when David ascended to the throne,
he had these 2 sons killed
because they had participated in a conspiracy…
that resulted in the deaths of many people.
David ordered their bodies should be hung on a public gallows.
That is when Rizpah comes back into the story again.
She goes to the execution site…
and begins a sad and lonely vigil beside the bodies of her 2 sons.
We are told in this very hideous scene…
that she drove away the vultures by day