Mary His Mother

 The Easter story runs a mother’s heart through the sewers of what humanity is capable of. Years ago I saw a movie about a man sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. In the days leading to her son’s execution, his helpless mother fell deeper and deeper into swallowing grief. The days happened to coincide with Easter and as the mother wept through the Easter service, it was as if she was hearing the Easter story for the first time. From that moment forward, I could never contemplate God’s redemption plan apart from the role of the woman who was woven so intricately into Jesus’ story.

I imagine the crucifixion scene from the vantage of a mother. To witness the brutalizing public display of degradation and horror must have felt more than any mother could ever possibly bear in a lifetime. Jesus’s mother, Mary, remained by her child’s side, helpless to stop the horror, but a faithful presence of love in the midst of so much hatred. How could she let her son go, even in death?

I’ve been at the bedside of women who have lost children in childbirth, as they hold precious lives they have imagined for years expired only after a few precious hours. They often want to dress their baby in special outfits meant to be worn home, never imagining it would be for an eternal home.

Jesus’ mother wanted to dress Jesus in the spices that would help preserve his body in death. She wanted to care for Him as her son as well as the man who had cared for so many. She knew she was forbidden to do this on the Sabbath, so she and Mary Magdalene waited until the obligatory Sunday morning sunrise to visit the tomb and prepare Jesus’ body with one last act of love.

The last thing the women expected to encounter at the tomb was an angel heralding the news that Jesus was no longer there. What graciousness of our God to provide a messenger to assuage the crushed hearts of the women who cared so tenderly for His Son. The angel’s message changed everything: “The tomb is empty, go and share the good news that He is risen!’

From utter despair to overflowing joy! These grief-stricken women were the first people in all of humanity to spread the news that would change history for every single person and to encounter what was promised.

Jesus lives! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

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