The Resurrection: a mother’s perspective
As I was sitting on my loveseat one morning this week, sipping my coffee and eating my Trim Healthy Mama cinnamon toast, God's Word was playing through the Bible app on my phone. Our church is going through a Bible study together this year called Wisdom 2020 (Well, not so much "together" right now, because of the crazy virus that is wreaking havoc on the nation. Hopefully, that will change very soon!), and today's reading included John, chapters 18 and 19.
These chapters give a poignant retelling of the final hours of Jesus's life, from the time he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane to his burial in a nearby tomb. As I listened to the narrator's beautiful British accent as he recounted the details of the arrest, “trial,” torture, crucifixion, death, and burial of my Lord, one sentence jumped out at me: “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother...” (John 19:25).
I have read those words many times in my life, but this time, they made my heart sink. I put myself in Mary's place and tried to imagine myself standing at the foot of the cross, watching my firstborn son Caleb hanging there, with nails through his hands and feet, in excruciating pain and literally dying. My Caleb is a good young man. He’s smart, kind, funny, and loving. He brings joy to my heart daily. But he isn’t perfect. We’ve certainly had our typical childhood moments with all of our children through the years -- disobedience, bad attitudes, tantrums, and the like. But not Jesus. He was not only Mary’s firstborn son, he was her perfect child and her Lord and Savior -- the sinless Son of God. Unlike the rest of us, Jesus did not deserve to be punished, for anything. What utter anguish Mary must have felt. What indescribable torture for a mother to endure.
Mary knew from the moment Jesus was conceived that he was no normal child. Yet she labored to give him birth; she nursed him at her breast; she fed him and clothed him; she raised him and watched him grow into a man. As most mothers would, she loved him more than life itself. Jesus was and always would be her baby. And she was watching him bleed and suffocate to death.
I know that many people have lost a child, and that must be the absolute worst thing that one could ever endure in this world. During the first trimester of my fourth pregnancy, our tiny baby died in my womb. With painful contractions, I delivered him at home. Even though it was early in the pregnancy and the baby was tiny, my heart broke as I held that precious little one whom I would never get to know this side of heaven. I grieved for all of the memories that we would never make, for the love that we would never be able to show our child. How I longed for things to be different. We buried our baby in a tiny box in the flower garden in our front yard. My mama heart was shattered.
While that pain of miscarriage was real and hard, I can only imagine the agonizing, heart-ripping sorrow that Mary endured while watching her grown-up baby boy hanging on the cross. People often talk about how hard it must have been for God to watch his son die for the sins of his creation, and that is true. God had to turn his back on his son when Jesus took the sins of the world on his shoulders. God could not look on Jesus for a time, which must have been horrible.
However, God knew the end of the story. He knew that Jesus would rise from the dead very soon. He knew that all would be made right. He knew that the pain was very temporary. Mary did not.
The very best part of the story came on the third day when Jesus arose from the dead and left the tomb. Oh, how Mary's heart must have leapt for joy, knowing that her baby was back from the dead! What excitement she must have exuded as she ran around, shouting to everyone who would listen that her baby was alive! Jesus was okay!
As we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord this weekend, may we remember all of the sacrifice that was involved. May we understand the pain and torment that Jesus suffered, that Mary underwent, that God withstood. It was all for us, so that we could be reconciled with our loving Father and spend eternity in his presence.
“Amazing love! How can it be, that You, My King, would die for me?!” Happy Resurrection Day!
Michelle Thomas is a Christ follower, wife to Trevor Thomas, and homeschooling mom of four. Her books include Lord, I Need You, Through Deep Waters, and Debt-Free Living in a Debt-Filled World. Her website is KingdomCrossing.com, and her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.