1. Our Birth – Free, as in Salvation
We all owe our existence/survival to the mercy, selflessness, unconditional love, and sacrifice,(and as the abortion debate reminds us, the choice) of a woman willing to be a mother – a life-long commitment. The birth is free (to the one who is born), but much like salvation, the love/sacrifice to give birth and to bring up a child is beyond what anyone can pay – many women even pay for it with their lives.
1.1. World Not So Bad After All
Perhaps next to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the existence of such sacrificial/unconditional love is what brings hope to this world. The world is not such a bad place after all!
2. The Spiritual Mother
The scriptures constantly remind us that it is not just about physical birth. One of the women of tremendous courage and strength that we see in the New Testament is Priscilla. Scholars believe that she was childless. When Paul made Ephesus his hub, Priscilla and Aquila were with him. When Paul moved out of Ephesus, Priscilla and Aquila stayed on in Ephesus and ran the church from their home.
It is noteworthy that Paul always mentions Prisicalla first before her husband, which many scholars believe is due to the more prominent role she played in the church. Priscilla went through multiple migrations, relocations, homelessness, persecution, political turmoil, etc. Through all this, she never stopped working for the Lord and in the discipleship of those around her.
3. The Isaiah 54 Mother
Xandra Carroll suggests that Priscilla, as a spiritual mother and mentor to many young believers in her charge (people like Apollos – “[explaining] to him the way of God more accurately” – Acts 18:26), she must have identified with Isaiah 54:
” Burst into song, shout for joy…
because more are the children of the desolate woman…
Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide,
do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
your descendants will dispossess nations
and settle in their desolate cities…
Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated…
For your Maker is your husband—
the Lord Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth.”
– Isaiah 54
4. The Family of God
We are all adopted into the divine family of God. No one is left behind. We all have the opportunity to experience and celebrate the new birth that comes with salvation – making it possible to have many spiritual children than possible by physical birth alone.
In the words of Michelle Tepper: “The Isaiah 54 woman is a picture of Israel, the people of God… the Isaiah 54 mother also represents women who struggled with infertility, miscarriage, those grieving from the death of a spouse, those who will never get married and women who suffered through the agony of a broken marriage… her pain is real and is not ignored or explained away. She is loved, she has nothing to fear (Is 54:4,5) and has a reason to celebrate – she is commanded to sing, burst into a song, and shout for joy (Is 54:1-3). The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ makes it possible for everyone to enter the family of God’s eternal family, where every child has a parent, every child has a sibling, every single person has a spouse, and every man can be a father and every woman can be a mother”.
4.1. Where We Can All Be Isaiah 54 Mothers
Even as we the church is the bride of Christ, and even as the Isaiah 54 mother represents Israel/church and God’s redemption as the husband – we can all be the Isaiah 54 mothers!