“He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’”
When Jesus says these important words, he had just cleansed a man who had a demon. A woman who was in the crowd watching yelled to him, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” The verse above was Jesus’ reply.
The way that Jesus diverts the praise given both to himself and to his mother tells us a lot. Obviously this woman is in awe of the miracle he has done, and says this in recognition of Jesus’ holiness, righteousness, and power. In her mind, the mother of such a man must be very blessed indeed. Jesus doesn’t deny it, but rather he points out someone who is even more blessed than the mother of Christ – anyone who hears the word of God and obeys it. Indeed, even the mother of Christ herself wouldn’t be blessed if she did not fall in this category. (We know from the gospels’ accounts of Jesus’ birth that she very literally received the word of God and obeyed it, so there’s no reason to think that she wouldn’t.) The point is, you and I, followers of Jesus, if followers we truly are, are as blessed if not more than Jesus’ own mother if we simply will receive and obey the word of God.
Jesus certainly didn’t say this to create a competition of “who’s more blessed,” but to give us a glimpse of the real power of a life lived through the Spirit of God. To hear his word and to keep it is the sign of a much greater blessing than even the status of “mother of Jesus.” It’s the sign that the Holy Spirit is living in you. It’s the mark of your status as a child of God, an heir to the kingdom of Heaven, and a recipient of eternal life through Jesus.
Thank you that you have made me blessed. Thank you that you have chosen me and given me the gift of faith and the Holy Spirit. Help me not to just hear your word but also to obey it always.
In Jesus’ Name,