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Who is My Mother?

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Matthew 12:38-50  Mother’s Day 1998

SBS:  HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY.  I started preaching in Matthew over a year ago, and now on Mother’s day we are here in a passage in which Jesus asks “Who is my mother?”


Intro:  Families can be difficult.  There is a book that is called “Every time I go home I break out in relatives.”  Yet, as crazy as our uncle Leo is, or as bad as our Great Aunt Louella’s dill Pickle cake tastes most of us still need a family.  Today is mother’s day.  A day first officially celebrate in 1908, at the request of Anna Jarvis, it is a call to remember our family, but this passage of Scripture calls on us to ask, who is our family? 

I remember a funeral I did years and years ago.  The funeral home knew me through my father, who’s rule was, “never turn down a funeral, it is the time when people face mortality and hear the gospel.  This funeral home would often call when they needed a minister.  The service was for a woman who had been in a nursing home for years.  At the funeral home there were only about four or five very old people and one middle aged man.  The man, who was the woman’s son, took me aside.  I thought that it was to tell me some antic dotes about his mother or perhaps tell me about his mother’s church before she was placed in the nursing Home.  I was shocked when he said “Don’t make this too long, I have other things I need to do today.”  I didn’t quite know what to say, finally I told him that I would do my best to honor the Lord and his mother.  He then said to me, and I will never forget this, “there’s an extra fifty buck in this if you can make it less than 15 minutes.”  I was very poor at the time and fifty bucks was a lot of money . . . but I still went thirty minutes.  There are just some things that should not be done.  Who is going to be there at your funeral?  What are they going to say?  Who is your real family?


The scribes and the Pharisees claimed to be part of the family of God.  Yet Matthew shows us that those whom Jesus dealt with were not.  They come here asking Jesus to give them a sign, show them a trick.  Jesus tries to show them that they are not a part of God’s family.  How do we know if we are a part of God’s family or not?  Jesus gives us three ways to find out who our real family is:

  1. REVIEW OUR HISTORY- VV. 39-42  Jesus is reacting here to the question for a sign.  He begins to tell them that they have had enough.  These leaders are like the skeptics of today who say: If God is real, let him appear before me right now.
    1. Jesus is greater than the sign of Jonah.  Greater in person, in work, in death and in life and yet the people of Nineveh believed Jonah and these men don’t believe Jesus.
    2. Jesus is Greater than Solomon.  The queen of Sheba traveled a long way to hear Solomon and was convinced.  Jesus was greater than Solomon.
    3. Nin. And Sheba will rise up in judgment against the leaders.  What do you need?
    1. The demonized man was cleansed but was not filled.
    2. Legalism can only take us so far.  It is the news that we have fallen short, we owe God money and we cannot pay it.  Realizing that you are wrong is not enough. We must have someone else pay that for us, and that is Jesus Christ.  The question is not are you obeying the rules, the scribes and Pharisees were doing that.  The question is how is your heart?
    1. This should not be seen as unduly harsh.  v.47
    2. This should be seen as ultimate love.  God has made us a part of his family Vv. 48-50

Concl:  There may be some of you here today who are not sure about your relationship with your family.  There is a family that you can be sure about.  There is a family that will take you in and care for you.  That is the family of Jesus Christ.  Others of you here know that you are a part of God’s family, let us all start acting like it.  Let’s start treating one another like brothers and sisters who are working for the same goal.

The football team in McDermott, Ohio had a young man named Jake Porter on the roster.  Jake had a disorder called chromosomal fragile-x, which means that he is cognitively challenged.  He will never be the smartest or the best member of the family or the team.  Jake loves football.  He went out for the team as a freshman and tried so had the coach just didn’t have the heart to cut him.  All through high school he went to every practice dressed out for every game on the schedule knowing that he would not get to play a down.  The schedule was winding down to the last game of his senior year.  The coach, Dave Frantz wanted Jake to be able to play a down of the game.  At the last game he explained Jake’s problems to the other coach and asked if the score happened to be lopsided, if they could put Jake in for a play that he had practiced all week.  Jake was to take a handoff and touch one knee to the ground so that no one would risk hurting him.

The other coach agreed.

With five seconds to go in the game Jake’s team was losing forty-two to nothing.  Coach Frantz figured that probably qualified as lopsided so he called a time-out.  He was going to put Jake in the game.  Suddenly the opposing coach came sprinting across the field.  Frantz thought that maybe he was concerned about his safety.  The opposing coach said “We want Jake to score a touchdown.”  Frantz could not believe it.  A coach giving up a shutout.  He said, Jake doesn’t know how to score, we’ve only done the knee thing.  The other coach said, you just get him the ball and we will do the rest.  Coach Frantz went back to his sidelines and pointed to Jake and said “Big Boy, you are going to the house.”

The ball was snapped and Jake took the handoff, he had practiced taking a knee so many times that he started to go down.  His knee came within two inches of the ground and his whole team started yelling at him not to go down.  He took a few steps backward in the whole team was pointing toward the end-zone and screaming,  both of the coaches were pointing toward the end-zone and screaming, the crowd was pointing toward the end-zone and screaming, the opposing players were pointing toward the end-zone and screaming, the referees were pointing toward the end-zone and screaming.  Jake walked slowly toward the line and the players in front of him parted like Moses and the red sea. Then he took off for the promised land.  The end-zone was 49 yards away and it took him twelve seconds to get there, but finally Jake Porter scored a touchdown. 

The newspaper account of this story says that the bleachers exploded, grown men were hugging each other and crying. 

A lot of boys played in that game.  When they are old men thy will not remember many games or many touchdowns.  But I guarantee you they will remember that one.  Jake Porter couldn’t contribute much, but he was a part of the team.

We look at how great and powerful God almighty is and how inadequate all of our work is.  We realize that we are all Jake Porters, but God makes us a member of his family through Jesus Christ.  He will not stand at our casket saying “get this over with” but will keep pointing us toward the new city where families are never broken up.  Who is your Mother, your brothers, your sisters?  Look around you.

Bow for Prayer

 If you are not a child of God, let someone here today tell you how.  If you are, make a conscious effort to remember to be nice to your family, it’s a strange one, it’s a big one, but it is the greatest family in the world.



5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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