"As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34
During the Second World War, Solomon Rosenberg, his wife, and two sons were arrested. There was one main rule in the Nazi labor camp: “If you work, you live. If you can’t work, you die.” Every evening the father returned to the barracks and looked for his family. For a few minutes, they would huddle and give thanks for another day.
One day, father came back and his family wasn’t there. He finally found his oldest son, Joshua, crying in a corner. To the father’s heartrending question, the son shared: “Today David (the younger, weaker son) was not strong enough to work. They came for him. When they came for him, he was afraid and he cried. Mama said, ‘There is nothing to be afraid of,’ and she took his hand and went with him."
Who cannot hear that story and not be moved by a woman who would give her life for her child? We are moved and we understand. We understand He was her flesh and blood. Every day as he grew within her, her love grew for him. That love found its fulfillment when she took his hand and went to die with him.
But I wonder, would this mother have done the same for another woman’s child? She might have, most wouldn’t. Jesus lived His life for all of lost humanity. Jesus gave Himself to those who had walked away from Him, who had wanted nothing to do with Him, even for those who hated Him. In this, Jesus is absolutely unique in humankind’s history. You see, every mother I have ever heard of believes in her child. The mothers of murderers and misfits, rebels and rapists, continue to believe in their children They believe there is some small, redeeming quality in their children. Jesus had no such beliefs. He saw into the hearts and souls of humankind. Jesus knew His disciples would desert Him, His listeners would leave Him, and humanity would hate Him. He knew His life would end alone, upon a cross.
Still, Jesus continued to love us. So we might be saved, Jesus lived for us, died for us, and rose for us. All this He did, so that you and I, in our last moment, might have a Savior who would take us by the hand, tell us, “There’s nothing to be afraid of,” and lead us past death into paradise.
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon from May 9, 2004—Mother's Day
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank you for showing me real, unending love. No matter what pain or sorrows I encounter here on earth, I take comfort in knowing that in my last moment, my Savior will take me by the hand to lead me past death into paradise, saying,“There’s nothing to be afraid of." In His Name. Amen.