During a Bible study recently something our Lord said jumped out and struck me as so human. During His final hours on the cross Jesus said to His mother, “Dear woman, here is your son” and to the disciple whom He loved, John, “Here is your mother.” (John 19:26-27) Think about that for a moment. He had only previously lived in Heaven. He volunteered for the job to leave paradise and save mankind. But His emotions (I’m guessing in some way like ours, except perfectly Divine, so not at all like ours) – expressed concern about His mother’s well being once He was gone. He entrusted someone He dearly loved to take care of her and John did. Jesus knew exactly where He was going after it was finished because He had been there before. And of course, He knew Mary would undoubtedly grieve the loss of her son, but ultimately she would be ok. He had the reassurance they would be reunited in paradise. That was the way He loved us. Even in His final hours He was putting all of us ahead of Himself, not because He had to, because He chose to. That part was so God-like, but the concern for those He left behind seems so human to me. He yearned to know-his mother would be alright.
I think of Mary (mother of Jesus) a lot. She birthed a child that would forever change our world. He would be our only hope. When the angel Gabriel told her of this news, she took the leap of all leaps of blind faith. She trusted in God the whole time. She knew God’s plan was perfect, and she obediently went with this idea that although she was a virgin, nothing was too great for God.
In Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion I am always struck by the way he depicted her viewpoint. She watches the capture, torture and crucifixion of her beloved son. She calmly says, “It has begun.” I think of the duality of her anguish and servanthood.
The way she accepted God’s will adds to the wonder of the story. Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38) To be so obedient and so devout as to take this mind blowing news in stride is amazing. Never mind being so courageous as to communicate with THE angel Gabriel. Imagine his power and prowess and enormity! Then imagine the faith you would have to possess to turn to your fiancé and tell him you would give birth to a son he had nothing to do with and you hadn’t intentionally set out to have.
Then as the first Easter approached, she had to stand by while her son suffered so terribly – as a mother, this leaves me speechless. She had amazing, unswerving faith in who He was and what He came to do. Gabriel said to her “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” (Luke 1:30) Even though she was the mother of Christ, she was a servant of God first, and mother of His son second.
I aspire to that – to so fully embody my role as servant to God that it trumps everything else. She added to Jesus’ life by believing in Him and Honoring Him all the days of her life and found favor by her rock solid trust.
Then I think of Mary Magdalene. She arguably lost her only friend in the world. She stood by Him to the very end side by side with His mother. She followed behind like a loyal pup. The day our Lord died, she must have felt as though she lost everything good in her life. And let’s face it, 2000 years later, we’re still trying to make sense of the death and resurrection, down to Hell, up to Heaven with a layover here and there with the disciples. Imagine this woman, who had formerly been possessed by 7 demons, trying to get her head around all she had witnessed and lived through. Her bravery (when all the other disciples scattered) blows me away. She put her self out there and if she weighed the consequences, chose to be there with Him to the end. She anointed His dead body to prepare if for the tomb. She literally walked with Him to her Hell and back. And that morning when the stone had been rolled away, He chose her to feast her eyes on Him – ARISEN!
I want to be an obedient servant to our Lord, like Mary. I want to trust in all He does and His plans to answer my prayers. I want to honor Him in all I do and have him trump everything in this life. I want Him to choose me to display Him ARISEN in spirit in the Christian I am.