Posted by: William | May 11, 2008

The Mother of Jesus on Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s day, and never in history has there been a mother quite as remarkable as Jesus’ mother. So remarkable that some have come close to deifying her. Some have gone all the way. Although we know that she, in her self, was no different from you and I, she was blessed above other women and experienced a greater mercy than all other women in all of history. She was beloved as the mother of our Savior. She experienced greater joy than all other women, but at the onset of her son’s execution, she also experienced deeper sorrow than any woman. In an extended quotation from A.W. Pink’s Seven Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross, we see the glory of Christ in his mother’s sorrow. This quotation is worth the read.

In accordance with the requirements of the Mosaic law, the parents of the child Jesus brought him to the temple to present him to the Lord. Then it was that old Simeon, who waited for the Consolation of Israel, took him into his arms and blessed God. After saying: “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32) he now turned to Mary and said: “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34, 35). A strange word was that! Could it be that hers, the greatest of all privileges was to bring with it the greatest of all sorrows? It seemed most unlikely at the time Simeon spoke. Yet how truly and how tragically did it come to pass! Here at the cross was this prophecy of Simeon fulfilled.

“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother” (John 19:25). After the days of his infancy and childhood, and during all the public ministry of Christ, we see and hear so little of Mary. Her life was lived in the background, among the shadows. But now, when the supreme hour strikes of her Son’s agony, when the world has cast out the child of her womb, she stands there by the cross! Who can fitly portray such a picture? Mary was nearest to the cruel tree! Bereft of faith and hope, baffled and paralyzed by the strange scene, yet bound with the golden chain of love to the dying one, there she stands! Try and read the thoughts and emotions of that mother’s heart. O what a sword it was that pierced her soul then! Never such bliss at a human birth, never such sorrow at an inhuman death.

Here we see displayed the Mother-heart. She is the dying man’s mother. The one who agonizes their on the cross is her child. She it was who first planted kisses on that brow now crowned with thorns. She it was who guided those hands and feet in their first infantile movements. No mother ever suffered as she did. His disciples may desert him, his friends may forsake him, his nation may despise him, but his mother stands there at the foot of his cross. Oh, who can fathom or analyze the Mother-heart.

Who can measure those hours of sorrow and suffering as the sword was slowly drawn through Mary’s soul! Hers was no hysterical or demonstrative sorrow. There was no show of feminine weakness; no wild outcry of uncontrollable anguish; no fainting. Not a word that fell from her lips has been recorded by either of the four evangelists: apparently she suffered in unbroken silence. Yet her sorrow was none the less real and acute. Still waters run deep. She saw that brow pierced with cruel thorns, but she could not smooth it with her tender touch. She watched his pierced hands and feet grow numb and livid, but she might not chafe them. She marks his need of a drink, but she is not allowed to slake his thirst. She suffered in profound desolation of spirit.

“There stood by the Cross of Jesus his mother” (John 19:25). The crowds are mocking, the thieves are taunting, the priests are jeering, the soldiers are callous and indifferent, the Saviour is bleeding, dying – and there is his mother beholding the horrible mockery. What wonder if she had swooned at such a sight! What wonder if she had turned away from such a spectacle! What wonder if she had fled from such a scene!

But no! There she is: she does not crouch away, she does not faint, she does not even sink to the ground in her grief – she stands. Her action and attitude are unique. In all the annals of history of our race there is no parallel. What transcendent courage. She stood by the cross of Jesus – what marvellous fortitude. She represses her grief, and stands there silent. Was it not reverence for the Lord which kept her from disturbing his last moments?


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