Easter 2009 - Mary, mother of Jesus

How unspeakably wonderful that first Easter was for Mary, the mother of Jesus!  To hear, to hope in the truth, and then to know beyond any doubt, that her son was alive.  He is risen!  He is risen indeed!  There must have been tears of joy.

At some point during her personal anguish over the suffering and obvious fate of Jesus, Mary probably recalled the words that old Simeon spoken to her thirty-three years earlier:  "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." (Luke 2: 34-35)

As strange as the collective experiences of her life had to be as the mother of God Himself, Mary carried out her responsibility as the child's mother.  She did not always understand what Jesus said to her.  (Luke 2:50)  But as Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with both men and His heavenly Father, Mary noted it all and patiently waited to see what would become of her son and His divine mission.

Unfortunately, Mary would witness something that no mother ever wants to see - the death of her child, her own flesh and blood, the baby that she sheltered in her womb for nine months.  And yet she willingly served the Lord by bearing this Child so that He could live, and die, and of course, ultimately rise again.  The example that Mary provided to us  in the time of her sorrow is beautifully expressed in the following passage taken from Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth E. Bailey:

"On Golgotha Mary chose to remain to the end and witness the suffering of her son until his death.  She was not under arrest and could have walked away.  She knew she could not change what was happening before her by arguing with the soldiers or pleading with the high priests.  The only decision she was free to make was to choose to remain and enter into Jesus' suffering.  Indeed a sword passed through her heart, and in the process, once again, she became a model for Christian discipleship."1

I like to think of Mary on Pentecost Day, listening to Peter's preaching, and witnessing the result of 3,000 souls being baptized unto salvation.  She certainly would have continued her personal witness too – her witness to the incarnation and its purpose for all humanity.

And Mary said, "My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior..." (Luke 2:46-47)

Bailey, Kenneth E., Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes (Downers Grove:  IVP, 2008), 61.