Mother’s Day is the time-honored holiday where we take a break to honor the moms in our lives. It’s the day when we pamper our moms and wives by treating them to something really special, like an all-weekend baseball or softball tournament. These weekends typically end by picking up takeout barbeque on the way home immediately following a late-Sunday loss on the field, leaving everyone in a bad mood.
Or maybe that’s just our family.
Being such a special holiday, though, it only seems fitting that a man should spearhead an article on Mother’s Day. A man obsessed with sports and politics writing about gender equality—what could go wrong? But stay with me.
Moms Aren’t Equal to Dads
Despite huge improvements for women in the past decades, we still have a long way to go in truly achieving gender equality.
One example in the news is a lawsuit where members of the United States Women’s National Soccer Team have sued US Soccer for gender discrimination[ . They seek pay comparable to the men, alleging female players are paid far less than male players. When the USWNT won the World Cup in 2015, they generated more revenue than the men’s team, yet the male players continue to be paid exponentially more than the female players.
The gender equality discussion even bleeds into our local churches.
Mother’s Day sermons and writings geared toward equality are common. In fact, I heard a sermon just last week reminding women they are every bit the equal of men in worth and contribution to the church and ministry. All true.
But, although these messages are well intentioned, I’m not sure I always agree with them as it relates to moms. In my opinion, the discussion of equality and moms falls short because moms aren’t equal to men or dads—they’re far superior.
Maybe superior isn’t the right word (maybe it’s not the wrong word, either). Maybe it’s more like unique or unrivaled.
The First Reporters of the Resurrection
The gospels depict the faith of female followers of Jesus as just that: unique and unrivaled. Who stayed with Jesus as he was dying on the cross? Jesus’ mom and other women (John 19:23–27). No men are reported there, unless you count the Roman soldiers standing guard over his crucifixion.
After Jesus was dead and buried, who went to visit him? Women (John 20:1). Who is the first to talk to the resurrected Christ? A woman, Mary Magdalene (John 20:11–18). Mary seeing the resurrected Christ first is one of the most persuasive pieces of evidence for the reliability and truth of the resurrection. John and Matthew, both Jews who were disciples of Jesus, report a woman going to the tomb and ultimately seeing the resurrected Christ first (Matthew 28:1–10; John 20:1–18).
These reports would carry no weight in a first-century Jewish legal proceeding. Women could not testify as eyewitnesses. Yet Matthew and John report women there first. If they were falsifying the resurrection, they would’ve recorded men as seeing Jesus first. Yet Matthew and John independently report women discovering the empty tomb and seeing the resurrected Christ first.
The gospel accounts all report that the male followers of Jesus, including the disciples, fled and hid when Jesus was arrested and crucified. The only ones who stayed were women. Only the women remained faithful.
The Unrivaled Love of a Mother
God’s love for us is unrivaled by anything we can fathom. But amongst humans, I would argue a mom’s love is unrivaled.
I know. I’ve seen it with my wife. Not in her love for me, although she loves me well. Not in her love for our biological kids, although she loves them well, too. The love I’m speaking of is her love for our adopted child, JB. It’s a love she had for him even before we adopted him.
You may have read our story before, but JB came into our house as a foster baby at two months old. We eventually adopted him after having fostered him for more than a year and a half. I prayed for JB from the moment he came into our house. I loved him as our own. I also slept every night. Many nights while I was sleeping, Cynthia was crying out to God next to JB’s crib.
Show me someone who remains with Jesus at his death and sees him first when he rises from the dead and I’ll show you a mom and a woman. Show me someone who can balance a job, carpool, birthday party, and a hitting lesson—all in the same day—and I’ll show you a mom. Show me someone who cries out to God at the foot of a baby’s crib when the baby is not your biological child or adopted child and I’ll show you a mom.
As we celebrate this Mother’s Day (hopefully with something better than a baseball tournament and takeout), let’s reconsider the talk of equality—because, when it comes to moms, there are really no equals.