Essence Of A Mother

Defender Of Widows

In ancient Israel, it was the responsibility of the city elders to ensure that everyone received justice. This was particularly true for orphans, widows and aliens. Each elder was expected to take on the role of defender of the widow. The word ‘defender’ could also be translated ‘advocate’; one who spoke up for those who lacked the power to speak for themselves. Justice was not just a matter of outcomes of legal disputes; it included provision for the basic necessities of life – food, clothing, accommodation. Old Testament law demanded this of the community of God’s people revealing that God himself was the ultimate defender of the widow (Psalm 68:5).

If Jesus truly was God’s Messiah and Son, then he ought also to demonstrate this character. After his own earthly father had died, he, as the first-born son, was required to be his mother’s defender. But what would happen to her when he died? True to the word of God, Jesus, as he hung dying on the cross, looked at his mother and continued with his God-given responsibility of being her defender. He looked from her to John, one of his disciples and assigned the role to him (John 19:26-27). We are told “from that hour the disciple took her into his own house.”

Today, Jesus looks down on our mothers, especially those who are widowed, and says to the church, the community of God’s sons and daughters, “Behold, your mothers!” Let us be sure we take this responsibility seriously.

from Frank Eames