Summary: Looking beyond the prophetic interpretations, we find a powerful link to our own role in the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan.
It is truly a blessing to have so many mothers in our midst today. And it is a privilege and an honour to pay tribute this weekend to the women in our lives. These mothers and grandmothers, and great-grandmothers in our midst have contributed in so many ways to make each of us who we are, and we are so thankful that God has placed them in our lives, to inspire us, to teach us; at times, to correct us; but most of all, to love us. It is a true saying that a mother’s love for her children knows no danger, counts no cost, thinks not of self. It is a love that’s as fierce as any wild animal, but as gentle as a dove.
What’s more, a mother’s love and devotion often go unrecognised. Ilion Jones once wrote that on the great biographer Ida M. Tarbell’s 80th birthday, someone asked her to name the greatest persons she had ever met. She responded, “The greatest persons I have ever met are those nobody knows anything about.” Ilion Jones also wrote that once the New York Times was asked to help a group of club women decide on the twelve greatest women in the United States. After due consideration, the editors replied, “The twelve greatest women in the United States are women who have never been heard of outside of their own homes.” God has indeed bestowed upon mankind a special gift in giving us the women in our lives. They were meant to be, from the very beginning, a special expression and example of His love for us.
In fact, the Word of God tells us that God Himself has motherly qualities. Turn and look with me at Genesis chapter 1, and verses 26 and 27….
Notice what the Bible says: “In the image of God man was created, both male and female.” The Scripture says that women were created as much in the image of God as men were. And yet in many ways, women and men are entirely different from each other. So what God was doing when He created woman was not just creating a help mate for Adam, no. Through Eve, God was revealing more of His image to us. Now, it is clear from many parts of the Bible that God has male qualities. And yet, in creating females, He reveals to us that He also possesses those qualities which we admire in the women in our lives.
As you turn the pages of God’s Word, you will find several key statements made by God, which reveal the motherly aspects of His character. Consider, if you will, Isaiah 66:13, where we are told, “As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you.” Or again in Isaiah, chapter 49 and verse 15: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb: They may forget, yet I will not forget you.” And then there was the lamentation of Jesus as He looked over the holy city in Matthew 23:37, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets, and stone them that are sent unto you. How often I longed to gather your children to me, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings….” These are just a few of the motherly qualities possessed by God as revealed in Scripture. And in giving us mothers, grandmothers, wives and aunts, it is God’s desire to reveal those qualities of His character to us.
One of the greatest qualities of a woman, however, and indeed the only quality which a man cannot possess, is the ability to give life to another human being. Mothers are just that – mothers – because they alone are able to bear children. It’s something that a man just cannot do. I know science nowadays claims to be able to clone human beings; but one thing that they will never be capable of is making a man give birth to a child. Besides which, I don’t think it’s something any man would want to do. I know Angela once told me when she was pregnant with our second son, that if men had to give birth to every other child, there would be no families with three children, because the men would do it once, and never want to do it again.
The ability to give birth is a special gift that God gave to women alone; and He gave them this gift – this capacity for giving life to another human being – because it demonstrates His desire to give life to us.
To better understand what I’m trying to say, would you turn with me, please, to the Gospel of John, chapter 3. This is the passage of Scripture made famous because of verse 16, but there is something else I want us to consider for a moment. So look with me please at the third chapter of John’s Gospel, starting at verse 1 (read vv. 1-7)….