And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!” But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:27-28)
The Truly Blessed
When the fullness of time came for Christ to come into the world, God looked among the women of Israel and favored Mary to be the one whom the Son of God would be born. The life of Mary would be filled with questions and reflection of the child she bore in her womb and raised from infancy to that terrible day when she witnessed His death on a cross. There was no one who had greater certainty of the divinity of Jesus than Mary as the virgin birth was real to her in every way. When the Lord began His ministry, Mary was an integral part of His work. She stood at the cross and watched Him die and said not a word. When the church began fifty days later she was numbered with the first disciples disappearing on the pages of God’s revelation thereafter. On one occasion as Jesus is teaching, a woman in the crowd is overwhelmed with the presence of Jesus and shouts praise to the woman that bore this man into the world. It was a sign of respect and honor to speak highly of the mother of Jesus who was probably unknown to the woman. It would be a fitting time to speak in regard to His mother but this was not the time. Some of the final words of Jesus were spoken to His mother as He implored the apostle John to care for Mary. But on this occasion, Jesus diverts the attention away from Himself and from His mother to impress upon the hearers the truly blessed among men. The most important relationship a person could have would be with the Father in Heaven.
Jesus summed up in two points the truly blessed among men. It did not come from the accolades of men for others as exemplified by the honor given to Mary over the centuries. Those who will be blessed are those who hear the word of God and those who keep the word of God. Whatever glory men could bestow on Mary passed when she died. She was a quiet servant of God that was blessed among women to bear the Son of God in her womb and bless the world with the greatest gift man will ever know. Beyond that, her life was in devotion to the cause of Christ and the establishment of the early church. The final mention of Mary is recorded by Luke in the Acts of the Apostles and nothing more is said. What is the most important part of scripture is what is preserved by the Holy Spirit: the word of God. Jesus reminds the woman in the crowd that salvation comes from hearing the word of God. Understanding the will of the Father is where true blessings come. Eternal life does not come from Mary but hearing the message of grace from the word of God and knowing the pattern of redemption in Christ. The early church preached a risen Christ and the necessity of hearing the word of God. Throughout the book of Acts, men and women obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ when they heard the word and obeyed the word. Hearing was essential to salvation and without hearing there could be no faith. Every example of conversion in the early church began with someone hearing the word of God. They were blessed when they obeyed the word.
The blessings of God do not come only by hearing the word. Jesus pointed out a second and vital part of salvation when He told the multitude that those who keep the word of God will be blessed. Hearing the word is paramount but if the heart is not willing to obey the word there will be no blessing. Many heard the word of Jesus but did not believe. On the Day of Pentecost, there will many people who heard the preaching of the apostles and did not obey the gospel message. Throughout the book of Acts and the travels of Peter and Paul, multitudes of people heard the good news of salvation and refused to obey. The blessings of God will only come when a heart hears the word and keeps the word in obedience. This also suggests that when the gospel is obeyed that a continual action of hearing and keeping the word is required. When three thousand souls obeyed the word of God at Pentecost, Luke records they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine. Great blessings will come for those who abide in the word of truth. The disciple of Christ will continue to hear the word of God and keep the word of God in their lives. The true blessing will come to those who keep the word. Without keeping the word there can be no blessing. Mary the mother of Jesus was a remarkable woman who lived an extraordinary life. The child of God who hears the word and keeps the word leads a more remarkable life because they are walking in the grace of God redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.