stations of the cross - loretto chapel, santa fe new mexicoYou will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.  And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end! [Luke 1:31-33 (NLT)]

Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him.  As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.” [Luke 2:34-35 (NLT)] 

After visiting her eldest son, my mother-in-law was troubled and sad. Her son (my brother-in-law) has Parkinson’s and this debilitating disease has taken a tremendous toll on him both mentally and physically. Any mother’s heart breaks when she sees her child’s future crumbling before him. Yet, that’s what Mary did.

The son of a friend has inoperable cancer and this could be his last Easter. He’s a young man, in the prime of his life, but that life will end long before it should. Although they’re trying all sorts of alternative medicine, she knows that, in the end, he will have pain. Any mother’s heart breaks when she sees her child suffer. Yet, that’s what Mary did.

At a funeral many years ago, I remember the mourning mother speak to me of her child’s death. “It’s not right; it’s the wrong order,” she protested. “I’m the one who is supposed to go first. A mother isn’t supposed to bury her child.” No, a mother isn’t supposed to see her child die and she’s not the one who should see him put in his grave. Yet, that’s what Mary did.

That horrible Friday, did Mary remember Simeon’s prophetic words? Did she feel that sword pierce her heart as her son hung on the cross? Was she familiar with Isaiah’s prophecies? Had she known they were about her boy Jesus? The miraculously conceived son, the son who nursed at her breast, the son whose birth was heralded by angels, the son given costly gifts and worshipped by magi from the East, the son Simeon said would be the glory of Israel, the son smart enough to converse with rabbis as a young boy, the son who turned water into wine—this son was going to die a criminal’s death. Mary, like any mother, had high hopes for her special child—He was going to reign over Israel. In the prime of His life, those hopes were dashed—Jesus wasn’t going to be king of anything. Mary stood there at the foot of the cross and saw her son spat upon. She heard his anguished cries as her baby boy died a slow and painful death. And her mama’s heart was breaking as he was placed in a borrowed tomb. Mary didn’t know what the future would bring.

When the grief-stricken women went to the tomb that Sunday morning, they didn’t bring clean clothes for a resurrected man; they brought spices for the anointing of a dead body. When the women went to the tomb, they weren’t expecting it to be empty. They didn’t know.

Oh Mary did you know
The blind will see. The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again. The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak The praises of The Lamb.
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your Baby Boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you’re holding is the Great, I Am.
[“Mary did You Know?” by Mark Lowry] 

He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. [Isaiah 53:9 (NLT)]

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