By Brenda Black
“As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, 'Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.'
“He replied, 'Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.'” (Luke 11:27-28)
It's true, you know. Though a mother is to be praised for nurturing and teaching her child, the child who adheres to her wisdom and love is the one most blessed. While the mother is filled with joy for her child's wise choices, the son or daughter reaps the long-lasting benefits!
Jesus' bold statement is not spoken disrespectfully as a way to disregard the godly woman who bore Him. Rather, he is reinforcing what He taught time and again to his followers – walk worthy, live holy, receive life abundantly.
He taught the benefits of a life of obedience from a mountain top: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:6-9)
He helped Peter discover all he would gain through a life of faith when he sat down and had a heart to heart with his disciples.
“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, 'Who do people say the Son of Man is?'
“They replied, 'Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.'
“'But what about you?' he asked. 'Who do you say I am?'
“Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'
“Jesus replied, 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.'” (Matthew 16:13-20)
Jesus must have been thrilled to hear such conviction come from Peter. He surely was proud of how far this motley crew of of hand-picked hopefuls had come in their short time together. How sweet, then, to impart such a blessing and know that it would be for Peter's own good, as well as the kingdom's. Parents feel such pride, teachers experience such satisfaction. And our Holy Savior smiles when we get it!
It does my heart good to have sons who choose rightly, for then I know the promises of which they will profit: “The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry...Blessings crown the head of the righteous...The memory of the righteous will be a blessing...The wise in heart accept commands...The man of integrity walks securely...The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life...Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning...Wise men store up knowledge...The wages of the righteous bring them life...He who heeds discipline shows the way to life...The fear of the Lord adds length to life...The prospect of the righteous is joy...The way of the Lord is a refuge for the righteous...” (Proverbs 10)
How much will they individually be lavished by God for clean living and obedience to Christ's teachings if I point them to Him? Incredibly more than I could ever give!
Many in the world want to live off of the laurels of godly ancestors. But each must answer for his own actions. Don't get me wrong. It's great to have noble parents who follow God faithfully. I desperately pray that I have been a godly role model for my family. God blesses such intentional living. But no one can live on another's standing with God. We have to know the Savior personally and grow as a believer to reap the rewards hidden in His Word that He wants to lavish upon our lives on a daily basis.
“All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children's peace,” says Isaiah in chapter 54. He is speaking to the House of Israel, but God's promises are for all those ingrafted and called His dearly loved. So when Isaiah concludes that “This is a heritage of the servants of the Lord,” then we can rejoice! Everyone of us, from generation to generation, who choose LIFE are blessed when we hear God's Word and obey it!