As we celebrate Mother’s Day this coming Sunday, many of us are thinking of or reminiscing about our own mothers. Those who are mothers will be anticipating receiving gifts from your children in celebration of their love for you.
The timing of this celebration mixed well with my current Bible study on the life of the Disciple John. What made me think of John on Mother’s Day was the obligation John took on at the death of Jesus on the cross.
As we remember the scene, Jesus, from the cross, looked at his mother Mary, and said, “Woman behold your son,” and then said to John, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. John 19:26-27.
That scene, which, just a couple of weeks ago, we recalled on Good Friday, made me consider all that must have been going through Mary’s mind as she knelt grieving near the cross. She was seeing her son, who she knew for a fact was the Messiah - the savior of her people - dying. He was so badly beaten that the scriptures tell us he was unrecognizable. Can we even imagine this mother’s pain?
Mary was chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus, as told to her by the angel Gabriel who said she was highly favored by God. The memory of those words “highly favored” must have conflicted so sharply with the scene of the cross before her and the turmoil within her. I picture her weary to the point of exhaustion from crying and probably kneeling on the dirt with her face to the ground unable to look at her tortured son.
We are told that from the very beginning of Jesus’ life, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Everything that happened to Jesus she remembered as a treasure. The time the shepherds came and shared of the angels’ visit, then the amazing wonder as the wise men appeared, the years spent in Egypt, Jesus left behind in Jerusalem, and later watching the miracles He performed. All these memories and more were treasured in Mary’s heart, as she recalled the words of Simeon’s prophecy on the day Jesus was consecrated to God, “And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” Surely, this was the day Simeon spoke of.
As Jesus was hanging on the cross for those three hours, each of the treasured memories Mary had kept in her heart must have come to the forefront of her mind. She knew she believed that He was God, but she could not possibly have understood the Master’s plan until three days later when Jesus came forth out of the grave.
What great sorrow Mary surely felt from Friday until Sunday and then what unbounded joy at the moment she again saw Jesus alive - His work on Earth almost finished. She would lose Him again physically, but she would live her eternal life in awe and joy in heaven with the Son of God, the one she was blessed to have nurtured as a child.
I imagine the things she now treasures in her heart fill it to bursting!
And John, the one who referred to himself as ‘the disciple Jesus loved,’ would care for and love Mary, just as he knew Jesus would have done, until she went to her heavenly home.
Mary was the most privileged mother in the world and yet when we imagine what she endured, it was almost more than any mother could bear.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day, we can learn a lot from this gentle Mary, the one whom God favored. She loved God above everything in life and she depended on Him for that beyond-human strength to get through the terribly hard times.
Can we, too, do this for our Lord? Can we be gentle and obedient, loving God with all our hearts, and be able to totally trust God for whatever in life - easy or difficult - that He may choose for us?
What love there has to be coming from the Father to the Son, to us, to be able to endure the hardships that many have and still do for the precious name of Jesus.
This should be our challenge today. The world is changing quickly, and many are forgetting that our Lord and Creator is really in charge of everything. We may find that one day we may be required to suffer for our faith or even defend our faith unto death. Can we, will we?
We can only get through the hard things of life as Mary and John did in the strength of our Lord and Savior. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Phil. 4:13.
Let us set our eyes on Jesus today to be our strength and Savior.
Mary is a formidable example of a mother to live up to, but her strong faith is what every mother needs. Mothers especially have a difficult job, but Jesus is there to lighten the load if you will love Him and let Him. Wishing all mothers a blessed Mother’s Day.
ED. NOTE: Amy Patsch writes from Ocean City. Email her at writerGoodGod@gmail.com.