As [Jesus] said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you were nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
I don’t know about you, but Jesus is talking to me right there. So often do I look at other Christians and tell myself I could never do that. Did you know that more than 2.5 million people have accepted through Billy Graham’s crusades? The number is so massive, it does not even hit me. I am just numb to it. Oh, he’s just Billy Graham, I could never be like him. Right? Oh, he’s has a gift of speaking and a talent that God did not give to me. So often I look at others and and automatically cap a limit to what God can do through me. Oh, him, he’s really holy, I mean look at him. He prays so loud and fervently, he lifts his hands while worshiping. He’s so musically talented. Oh man, he’s so blessed. I hear that phrase a lot. People say it about those who can sing well, dance well, speak well, study well, implying that that person is somehow more blessed than they are. Sure everyone has different gifts, but when I see people like C.S. Lewis, R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, Francis Chan, Jim Cymbala, or any of those Christian giants, my first response is wow, God has really blessed their ministries. We, or at least I, often times miss out on the fact that it was not because of any inherent gift that God has bestowed on them that makes then any better than us. It’s that they heard the word of God and kept it.
I want to challenge you today, like I was just challenged by God (through the reading of his word), we can live a life that is just as great–if not, greater than that of Billy Graham or that oh Henry Appenzeller, the missionary who went to Korea and started a revival in 1884. (I encourage you to read about him. His testimony is breath-taking.)
Going back to the passage, the woman in the crowd spoke out. The bible said she “raised her voice” [ESV]–in NIV, it says she “called out.” Basically it was loud. She says calls Jesus’ mother blessed, implying that God has not blessed her in the same manner. Perhaps she had a bad experience with her son or daughter. Perhaps he or she was very rebellious or very trendy. I don’t know; the bible does not tell us. It does tell us, however, Jesus’ response to the woman.
Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it
Wow. What does this mean? I believe Jesus is rebuking the woman and saying to her, you can be just as blessed so long as you hear my words and do them! It does not matter that Mary’s womb bore Jesus. That does not make her great! What makes her great is when the archangel Gabriel comes down, tells her that she will be with child, and Mary treasures these things deep in her heart. And Joseph! He finds out Mary is pregnant, baby ain’t his, he has in mind to divorce her quietly, but when the messenger from God tells him not to, he obeys! That is what makes people great: obedience. Loving God is obedience, not sacrifice. Once again, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.