On Sunday, December 20, Graffiti 2 Baptist Church wrapped up a series on the life of Mary. Below is a reflection presented by our Pastor. Read and watch the video below.
Do you know what it’s like to grow up with Jesus as your big brother? I’m not talking Jésus your cousin. I’m talking Jesus.
I guess I should introduce myself first. My name is James. My dad was Joseph and my mom was Mary. I grew up in Nazareth along with my brothers, Joseph and Jesus.
Actually growing up with Jesus wasn’t so bad. We did the normal things that kids do. We helped mom with the chores. Dad was a carpenter, so there was always something he was trying to fix. Jesus liked doing that sort of thing. He was always at my dad’s feet.
Me, not so much. I guess you could say I was a momma’s boy. I liked hanging out in the house helping her.
Mom liked to sing while she worked. “My deliverer is coming, my deliverer is standing by” (cited below).
Mom told me she heard that song while in Egypt. I never knew she and dad lived there. Apparently right after Jesus was born the king threatened to kill all the baby boys. Dad had a dream where an angel told him to flee. So, they left. Mom said the kids in Egypt sang that song. She would sit rocking Jesus in her arms, listening, wondering, and remembering.
By the time I was born they moved back to Nazareth. Nazareth is a tiny, little, back-water town. People always used to say, “Nothing good comes from Nazareth!”
Every year we would travel to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. I loved this trip. A bunch of us would travel up together. One year, on our way back, we had made it about half the way home, and Mom couldn’t find Jesus. I thought he was with our cousins. We looked all over the caravan, but he was no where to be found.
Mom and dad hurried back to Jerusalem to look for him. I was dragged behind. Man, did mom have a look on her face when she found Jesus still in the temple. You know the look. It’s kind of like the look when your mom switches from English to Spanish. You better just shut your mouth!
Jesus said something to mom that sounded so weird to me. He said, “Why were you looking for me? Didn’t you know I would be in my Father’s house?”
Honestly, we all had a hard time understanding Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t have had a more understanding brother, but somehow it always seemed he didn’t fit in our family.
This was hard for mom. Mom wanted to protect him, but he didn’t really need her protection. Mom cherished him but as he got older his journey took him farther and farther from our family.
I remember one day we all went to see him. He was kind of like your Justin Bieber or Bono. He was going from town to town. Crowds gathered every place he went. Some were there because they thought Jesus might heal them. Some came to see a spectacle. Others liked the way he taught. Jesus always had a unique way of explaining things. He would tell stories. Boy, was he a great storyteller.
The day we went to see him, you wouldn’t believe the crowd. We couldn’t get close. I saw someone I knew was part of Jesus’s crew. I told him to tell Jesus his mom was there to see him. We never got to see him! Someone told me what Jesus said when he heard we were there. Do you know what he said? “My mother and brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
I have to tell you; I was so mad. How could he insult us like that? Mom, though, was just quiet. It always seemed liked she was thinking. About what, I could never really tell. But occasionally, you would see a smile slowly come across her face.
On our way back home, that day when Jesus was too busy for us, not much was said. But at one point mom began singing a song, “My deliverer is coming, my deliverer is standing by. I will never doubt his promise. Though I doubt my heart I doubt my eyes.”
I remember the day I got the news that Jesus had been arrested. How could I forget it? I went to find mom but she wasn’t home. They told me she had already left for Jerusalem. . . by herself.
I don’t know everything mom saw that day. The Romans, they did horrible things to people they arrested. They had a practice they called scourging. The guards had these whips with 7, 8, or 9 leather bands attached. In each one was tied a rock or a piece of glass. They would strip people bare and beat them nearly to death. This was all done in public, just to prove a point. I can’t imagine how mom felt watching Jesus in such pain.
I remember one day when Jesus and I were playing; we fell and scraped up our knees pretty bad. We ran into the house screaming as if the world was coming to an end.
There’s no touch like momma’s touch; she cleaned us up, gently washing away the grit and blood, giving us a soft kiss on our forehead as we sniffled, our tears drying up.
There was nothing she could do for Jesus when he was arrested until he was dead. She and some other women made sure his body was treated with respect. They didn’t have much time because the sun was going down and the Sabbath was about to begin. So, they came back after the Sabbath to finish burying him.
You wouldn’t believe what happened! His body was gone. Now there’s a lot of different stories about what happened. Some say Peter and John stole his body. Some say he was never put in the tomb.
Here’s the truth. My brother, who was dead, came back to life. I actually saw him. We saw him. We touched him. We heard his voice. All of a sudden we understood. It all made sense.
He told us the story of His life had been written down for thousands of years. The Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. He said we were witnesses of these things.
I will never forget what happened next. I know this sounds hard to believe, but if a gun was put to my head I wouldn’t change the story. Jesus went up into the sky and disappeared.
Before he left though, He told us He would come again. In the meantime, we wouldn’t be alone. He would send a Helper, His Spirit to live inside us and help us to take this message to everyone we possibly can.
None of us were the same after that. We knew what we needed to do. Jesus had changed our lives and we knew His message would change the world.
Years later, I went to visit mom. John took care of her. Luke had recently spent time with her. He wanted to get her story written down.
She was in the house doing some chores. I thought I would sneak in and surprise her. I froze in my tracks as I snuck up behind her.
She was singing: “My deliverer is coming, my deliverer is standing by. He will never break his promise, he has written it upon the sky.”
Song: Rich Mullins, “My Deliverer is Coming”