The Godly Legacy of a Mother
By: Dr. Dillon Burroughs | © 2019
TA mother’s legacy impacts lives for generations. Though often unnoticed, the everyday, ordinary actions of moms across the world changes the future in profound ways.
Scripture also offers numerous examples of the positive influences of mothers. For instance, a close look at the book of Acts provides three specific times a mother is mentioned. All three occasions offer deep insight into ways mothers can invest in their children and change the world around them.
The Mother of Jesus
In Acts 1:14, Mary the mother of Jesus is mentioned: “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” She served as one of the praying believers in the upper room, a group of about 120 people.
Consider her faithfulness: Mary was the first to learn she would bear Jesus as the Messiah (Luke 1). She gave birth to Jesus, raised Him, and stood near the cross when He died. After His ascension, Mary remained loyal as one of those who prayed prior to the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Mary is not mentioned again in the New Testament. Yet her influence impacted Jesus, the Son of God. In addition, her godly efforts as a mother impacted the lives of two other New Testament writers. Her sons James and Jude each wrote letters in the Bible that we read today. James even led the first church in Jerusalem (Acts 15). The legacy of these men originates in the prayers and actions of one woman—their mother Mary.
The Mother of Mark
In Acts 12:12, we read of another mother named Mary. When Peter had been imprisoned with plans for his execution, the early believers gathered to pray. Where did they pray? Mary’s house. When Peter escaped “he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.”
Mary was known as a woman of prayer as well as a person of hospitality. She also had a strong influence on her son John, also known as Mark. Through her spiritual impact in Mark’s life, Mark would travel with the apostles Peter, Paul, and Barnabas at different times.
In addition, Mark composed the Gospel of Mark, most likely the earliest written Gospel that influenced the other Gospel writings. History even notes Mark was the founder of the church in Alexandria, Egypt, dying as a martyr for his faith in Jesus in 68 A.D.
Where did Mark gain his foundation for a faith that led him to travel the nations, write down the earliest Christian teachings, start churches, and die for his faith? In large part, his upbringing with his mother Mary formed the basis for his vital part in spreading the gospel.
The Mother of Timothy
The third mention of a mother in Acts is noted in Acts 16:1: “Paul came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was Jewish and a believer but whose father was a Greek.” Timothy’s mother was noted as a Jewish follower of Jesus, yet was married to an unbelieving Greek husband. Despite the spiritual mismatch in her marriage, her investment in the life of Timothy served as a significant ministry.
Timothy traveled with Paul, Luke, and others as a missionary. He led the churches in Ephesus, receiving two letters from the apostle Paul regarding instructions for churches and church leaders (1 and 2 Timothy). When Paul was near death, 2 Timothy 4 shows Paul calling for Timothy to come to his help.
Through his missionary and church leadership efforts, Timothy modeled exemplary Christian leadership as a biracial Jewish-Gentile believer. His leadership continues to inspire leaders today, including his role as a recipient of Paul’s command to serve as a godly example as young people (1 Timothy 4:12).
Timothy’s mother is even mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:5: “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” Eunice served as an amazing role model for her son and others in the early church.
Mothers in Acts and throughout Scripture continue to provide ways we can learn and apply godly living today. Whether through prayer, godly parenting, or other spiritual pursuits, mothers play a strategic role in impacting lives for Christ—beginning within their own home.
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Dr. Dillon Burroughs
Dillon Burroughs serves as senior writer at The John Ankerberg Show and has written nearly 40 books on issues of faith and culture. He is also an associate editor for The Apologetics Bible for Students and has contributed to many works on apologetics and Christian worldview. Dillon is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and holds a PhD in Leadership from Piedmont International University. He lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his wife, Deborah, and their three children.