Saturday, January 3, 2015
Mary’s Journey: Through His Passion
Imagine the many emotions Mary must have experienced as she raised Jesus from infancy through His teen years – joy, fear, dread, hope. And, as all mothers realize, that emotional roller coaster does not stop simply because your child matures into an adult!
When Jesus was a young Man, He, Mary and His disciples visited Cana for a wedding celebration (John 2:1-11), where He performed His first miracle of turning water to the best wine (v. 9-11). Joseph is absent from the Biblical account, suggesting that Mary was already a widow and now had the daunting responsibility of being the only earthly parent to advise Jesus.
At Cana, Mary was a good role model of how a mother can encourage her grown son without being overbearing. She pointed out the need (no more wine at the feast, which would disgrace the host; v. 3), but she did not insist that He meet it. Instead, she showed her faith in Him and her support by asking the servants to do whatever He would have them do (v. 5).
Yet Mary knew that Jesus was her Saviour as well as her Son (Luke 1:47). Her behavior at Cana is not only an excellent example of the balance a loving mother should have when mentoring her adult son, but it also illustrates how we should approach our Lord in prayer. We state our need (James 4:2; Hebrews 4:16) even though He already knows it (Matthew 6:8, 32); and we submit to His will even if it differs from ours (Luke 22:42). We have faith in His power to meet the need in His perfect wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:5); and we encourage others to participate in His divine activity by obeying Him (Hebrews 10:25).
Shortly after His first miracle at Cana, Jesus and His family traveled to Capernaum for a few days (John 2:12) before He left Mary’s home to begin His earthly ministry. Did she accompany Him to Jerusalem for the Passover (John 2:13), as was their custom? (Luke 2:41-42) Was she shocked when He drove the money changers from the temple, or proud that He upheld the sanctity of His Father’s house? (John 2:14-17)
Once Jesus left home. Mary still had His younger brothers and sisters (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3) to raise and to look after her, but no doubt she longed to spend time with her firstborn Son. On at least one occasion, the family took an outing to see Jesus where He taught (Matthew 12:46-50). Did her heart ache when Jesus said that His family was not His flesh and blood, but all those who did His will?
Or had Mary’s spiritual journey carried her to the point that she recognized the wisdom of these words? At least she knew in her heart that her own goal had always been to do the Father’s will (Luke 1:38):
Was Mary among the adoring crowd that shouted “Hosanna – glory to God in the highest!” as He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem? (Matthew 21:8-9) She may well have been, during her annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover (Luke 2:41-42) a few days later. Were her spirits lifted as she saw Him receive the praise and worship He deserved, or did her heart shudder, realizing that the crowd would soon turn on Him in ugly hatred? (Matthew 27:22-25)
We know for sure that Mary had journeyed from Nazareth to Jerusalem in time to witness the agony of His crucifixion (Matthew 27:55-56). We can’t even begin to imagine the pain that ripped her soul apart (Luke 2:35) as she watched Him being falsely accused, betrayed, spat upon, slapped, beat to a bloody pulp, humiliated in nakedness and a crown of thorns, staggering under the weight of His cross, and crucified (Mark 15:40-41; John 19:25).
Yet Jesus, despite His own suffering, had compassion for His mother’s future journey, and He had His beloved disciple John pledge to care for her as his own mother from that day forth (John 19:26-27). Mary’s soul must have cried out to her Son in gratitude as He honored and nurtured her even in His misery, making sure that John would comfort and protect her.
As Mary watched her Son’s final death pangs, heard His last words (John 19:30), and prepared His body for burial (Luke 23:55-56; Mark 15:47), did she lose hope? Was her faith shaken? Did she fear that her journey, and His, had all been in vain?
Or did she know and hold fast to what He had told the disciples (Luke 24:6-8) – that on the third day, He would rise again? She journeyed with the other women to the tomb that first Easter morning (Luke 24:1-3; Matthew 28:1) and was among the first to learn that He had risen indeed! Even though she was now middle-aged and frail, she ran to town to tell the other disciples (Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:10), and on the way, she met, clung to, and heard the words of her resurrected Son! (Matthew 28:5-10)
At last she knew her Son’s journey had conquered sin and death! The details of her own subsequent journey are not as clear, but we know that she gathered and prayed with the first Christians after Jesus ascended to Heaven (Acts 1:14). Her journey with Jesus was not just that of a mother devoted to her Son, but of a disciple faithful to His cause.
We also know that Mary’s journey did not end with her earthly life, but that her physical death transported her to a reunion in Heaven with her Son (2 Corinthians 5:8). No doubt He greeted her with a loving embrace, and with the words “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21,23)
Praise God that the same destination is available to all who place their faith in His death, burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way (John 14:6) to Heaven! May we serve God until then with the faith, submission, and willingness of Mary, handmaiden of the Lord! (Luke 1:48)
© 2014 Laurie Collett