Yes. Jesus understands motherhood. He’s been teaching his disciples, hauling them around everywhere he goes, and answering their questions tirelessly. And Jesus, being the perfect Son of God, and son of man says, “How long shall I put up with you?” I think I’ve said that once or twice to my son.
“You unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?” Matthew 17:17
In church we learn all about evangelism and the long list of what Jesus requires of us. Sometimes as mothers, particularly those who stay at home, we can feel helpless and maybe even guilty. How do we fulfill our “calling”, when our husband is the only adult we have talked to for days? How do we minister to the poor when our children’s constant need for food has exhausted every resource we have?
I have been reading through Matthew, and asking God to show me how to relate Jesus’s example to motherhood. I know that I have to let go of my pride…let go of wanting to be identified as a great “Christian Minister”. I know that in order to fully love my children and my husband, I can’t be concerned about my “ministry resume” or my “churchy accomplishments”. I have to let Christ be glorified, and accept that biblically I was called to be in the back ground. I am the poop wiper, dinner cooker, floor scrubber, grocery shopper, and husband lover. I can’t go on a mission trip to Africa or be the head of a church committee, but I can follow Jesus’s example. I can be Kingdom minded.
As I read through Matthew, I was struck by Jesus’s relationship with his disciples. He brought them everywhere, and taught them constantly. He ministered to thousands of people, but his main attention was on them. He didn’t leave them behind to fend for themselves, while he taught at the synagogue. They went with him, they watched him, and they kept asking him “why?”
Jesus is teaching and ministering, and they are right there asking embarrassing questions, disobeying, and falling asleep at inconvenient times. They are arguing over who is the best, and who Jesus loves more. They are throwing fits because they want some bread and fish. They are afraid because of a big storm. When Jesus needs time alone to grieve, they are following him around and hounding him for another healing. I think Jesus understand what it’s like to be a mother. He understands the exasperating moments. Can you imagine yourself saying:
How long shall I put up with you?” Matthew 17:17
“You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31
“Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. Matthew 15:16
“How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread?” Matthew 16:11
“Sit here while I go over there and pray.” Matthew 26:36
“Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” Matthew 26:40
“Put your sword back in its place,” Matthew 26:52
The disciples had all the family dynamics that most of us have. Peter was the loud “Know it all”. James and John weren’t called “Sons of thunder” for nothing. Judas rebelled, even though Jesus was the perfect teacher. “Because I said so” was never a good enough reason for Thomas to obey. John was the baby that everyone loved. Jesus knows what we are going through!
Jesus gets it. He knows what it is like to be training up children day after day. He is our example of motherhood. Jesus has entrusted our children to us to train them. The great commission says that we are to “Make disciples”. As Mothers, our mission field is in our own home. If we are ministering outside our home, our children should be right there with us, learning from our example.
Here are some things I noticed about how Jesus interacted with the disciples:
- He kept them with him as he ministered.
- He only left them alone to spend quiet time with God, but even then he was often interrupted.
- He taught them by telling stories.
- He answered them, when they asked him “why?”
- He rebuked them when they were wrong.
- He prayed for them constantly.
- He taught them how to pray.
- He feed them spiritual and physical food.
- He loved them…even when they abandoned him
- He was willing to suffer and die for them.
I’m humbled by the example that Jesus set. I can never measure up, but I am thankful that Jesus is my perfection. I hope that you are challenged along with me, to look at how Jesus taught his disciples and to invest with the same passion into your children.