We are all connected through mothers- somehow, some way. Jesus was no different in that way. It all began with an angelic message.
“Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
But this announcement began a journey of stratospheric highs and deep unspeakable lows.
A long 75-mile journey to Bethlehem. Mary’s cry of childbirth was heard in the dust of an ancient land. Passing shepherds, children, and farmers on the journey- a mysterious dance into the future of redemption.
Can you feel her joy and pain as she brings Jesus to the temple and she hears the words of Simeon saying:
“This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Can you feel the sadness of a Mother, reminded once again that this blessing would bring:
…moments where life seemed to spin wildly out of control.
We see Mary sheltering her baby from the sword of an angry demonic ruler named Herod, demanding to kill all the babies two and under in Bethlehem in order to rid himself of the King to be. Mary was a warrior.
A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity. It dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.
Can you hear the wails of those young mothers? Their dreams dashed in moments. God knows the hearts of motherhood destroyed. Dreams never to come true…
The burden of emptiness.
The shattering of hopes.
Mary’s son would be spared, but only for a season. A cross waited for her Son too. But still He was Mary’s boy.
They were oblivious to His words in the temple. They lost Him and had no idea where to find Him. Can you imagine their anxiety! Not in Walmart, not in the mall. Jesus was lost in a huge city, no phone, no Amber Alert.
And then they found Him. “Where have you been! I’ve looking all over for you!”
And then those words-
both amazing and astonishing …
Words that would break her heart in some deep maternal way:
“Why were you searching for Me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
Perhaps at that moment, Mary- the mother of Jesus was reminded of the reasons wise men bowed before the cradle and angels serenaded shepherds on the outskirts of Bethlehem.
But certainly, for a mom, it brought at least a small twinge of sadness. Besides, He was still Mary’s little boy.
There came a time after thirty years of rough hands and splinters, a carpenter left home for war. It was the war of the ages.
But there’s little doubt that the war was fought on the home front for Mary. Motherhood is also about letting go. It’s so hard to take in that God would give women such a powerful connection to their children and then ask then to step away.
And that’s what Mary did for three years. We see her briefly in flashes of the story of Jesus ministry.
Insignificant in comparison to some- but she’s there.
We see her at the world’s greatest coming out party when Jesus and His followers attended a wedding. Mary, the mother of Jesus tells the servants:
“Whatever He tells you to do… just do it. “
Then the water was poured and the wine flowed graciously.
But she understood, no doubt, that she was not the center of the story. Great mothers are like that, aren’t they? They are like a ghostwriters of masterpieces. Mothers stray from the limelight and paint their canvass to the glory of God in secret and alone.
Every parent wants to keep their child from harm. That’s something that God built within us. It’s scary.
And she heard the venom of a scoffers calling out with their hatred. Their lies burned her ears.
He who knew no sin became sin on our behalf.
And the mother that fed Him, changed Him, rocked Him to sleep, helped Him learn to walk on His own, nursed his scrapes, could now only watch Him die.
She was there and Mary watched her son’s breathing on that cross, the final moments of agony, as she looked at Him there. We can imagine her mind racing back to those moments as a two year old- Jesus sleeping on His tummy, the back rising and falling with each breath He took.
We understand this dangerous truth: That the choices we make are given meaning by the things we lose in the process.
And then those words… Woman behold your son. Son behold your mother.
And then He died.
I can only imagine the grief. As they took His broken, lifeless body down from the cross. The anger of her Son destroyed, mocked, rejected, a felon called Barabbas was preferred over her Boy.
No doubt Mary went through the grief any mother would experience. Like the scene from Steel Magnolias…
I’m fine! I can jog all the way to Bethlehem and back and back, but my son can’t! Oh God! I am so mad I don’t know what to do! I wanna know why! I wanna know why. Oh God I wanna know WHY? Why? Lord, I wish I could understand!
No! No! No! It’s not supposed to happen this way! I’m supposed to go first. I’ve always been ready to go first!
King of every king
and yet this was Mary’s boy.
blood spilled grace on me
and still Mary’s boy
piercing your heart,
to save me.
and His kingdom?
What a terrible loss you suffered!
to watch this One you fed,
protected, and nourished
now condemned to bear
nails and thrones
whips and shame
so that we could all come to the table.
and face the Gethsemane of every broken generation!
He cried for his Daddy as the sunset brought shadows on the edge of town.
You had others
but that night
He was your only Boy.
When we signed up to be a mom or dad, we signed up to fight the same battle. That’s what makes parenthood so scary. The same evil that drove Jesus to the cross is the one who causes evil, destruction, disease and pain. We live in such uncertainty and yet we can know for sure. We are barren in and of ourselves and yet there is one that gives us hope in the midst of our barrenness.
Yes, there is the EVIL one.
There is one that sends prodigals running to far countries and wild parties filled with the winds of destruction and the seductive storm of consequence. But there is another—The Redeemer– that brings them home.
In the midst of our pain, our struggle, our hurt and our desolation. Joy rises and we find the strength to bear under the weight of extraordinary scenarios.
In this life, the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.