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A Mother’s Love

May 3, 2021

Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15: 12)

Next Sunday, May 9th, is Mother’s Day.  We first experienced love through our mothers who loved, fed, and cared for us from birth.  We first experienced an inkling of God’s love for us through our mothers.  

Sometimes children think that a mother favors one child over another, despite her protestations that she loves her children equally.  Each child is a unique and marvelous creation–with his or her special characteristics, gifts, talents, and personality. It is a mother’s joy to discover the unique aspects of a child’s personality as revealed over the years as the child grows to adulthood. At times, due to the illness of a child or other circumstances, a mother must give more time and attention to one of the children, but that does not diminish her love for each of her children. 

Peter confirms in the first lesson for next Sunday that God doesn’t play favorites among his children: “Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right” (Acts 10: 34).[1]  Peter goes on to point out that while the good news was sent through Jews, the message is for all people.  

Like our mothers, God sees each of us with our faults and strengths and loves each of us.  He knows that we are different from each other.  He made us that way.  

And while God chose the Jews to be his messengers, Jesus and the disciples took the message beyond the synagogues to everyone. 

Peter went to Cornelius’ house in Caesarea Maritima at a time when the Jewish-Gentile conflict was at its height.  Many Jews believed that Jesus came only to save them, not Gentiles. A Gentile was anyone who was not a Jew. It was scandalous for Jews to even think of associating with Gentiles.  But God told Peter to take the gospel to Cornelius, a Roman.  

Peter’s action in taking the gospel to the Gentiles showed that the gospel was for everyone, not just for Jewish believers.  While he was in Cornelius’ home, sharing the good news, “.  .  . the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised [Jewish] believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles.  For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.  Then Peter said, ‘Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water.  They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.’ So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ“ (Acts 10: 44-48).  

When he returned to Jerusalem, Peter was called to task by Jewish believers for spreading the gospel message to Gentiles.  But after he recounted what had happened at Cornelius’ house, “they had no further objections and praised God, saying, ‘So then, God had granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.’” (Acts 11: 18).  He convinced the others that while the Jews were chosen to bring the good news, Jesus Christ was the savior of all.

This truth was borne out by Jesus’ own words and actions.  He preached in Samaria (John 4) and to the Greeks in the region of the Gerasenes (Mark 5).  He extended his care to the Romans as well (Luke 7), “But say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Luke 7:7b).   Jesus healed the centurion’s servant remotely, in the first recorded instance of telemedicine.

Shortly before he was arrested and taken to be crucified, Jesus explained to his disciples (and by extension to us), that Christ is the vine and that all who believe in him are branches of the vine (John 15: 5). God chose to send Jesus to earth to be born as a Jew and made Jews his primary spokespersons, but Christians were grafted into the family of God by the Master Gardener.  When we are connected to Christ, the vine, we receive our sustenance from him, as a fetus receives all the necessary nutrition, oxygen, and life support from the mother through the umbilical cord.

Jesus was clear that all who obey his command to love will remain in his love, just as he obeyed the Father: “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you.  Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love . . . My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15: 9, 12).  God does not give special privileges to one person or group over another.  He loves us all equally as a mother loves her children.

John reiterated that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah is God’s child: 

Every person who believes that Jesus is, in fact, the Messiah, is God-born. If we love the One who conceives the child, we’ll surely love the child who was conceived . . . The proof that we love God comes when we keep his commandments and they are not at all troublesome (Excerpts, 1 John 5: 1-3, The Message, emphasis added).

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, his Spirit inhabits our souls and testifies to the truth of the gospel and to the love of Jesus.  It is through the Spirit that we come to understand that the gospel is more likely true than not.  It is through the work of the Holy Spirit that we make a decision to follow Jesus.  It is the Spirit who guides us through the shoals and eddies in our lives, and keeps us on track.  

When we come to a relationship with the living God our lives are changed dramatically.  We begin to see everything and everyone through the prism of God’s love that shines through to us to encourage and to strengthen us even as we travel through life’s darkest valleys.  This Christ light shines through us enabling us to love and encourage others as a mother’s love encourages her children.  This relationship with the living God is open to everyone.  God doesn’t play favorites. 

Prayer: Father, you have blessed us with the joy and care of children–our own children, grandchildren, the children of others who we teach, mentor, lead, and love.  May we be present with them to lead by example. Give us patience and wisdom.  Lead us to joy and laughter as we spend time with them.  Show us how to teach them to love whatever is just, true, good, beautiful, and authentic.  We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen.

Diane Cieslikowksi Reagan


[1] The Scripture texts for the Sixth Sunday of Easter are Acts 10: 34-48; Psalm 98; 1 John 5: 1-8 [9]; John 15: 9-17.

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