Last night we watched Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ for Resurrection Sunday. I couldn’t help as a mother having empathy for Mary. I know that much of her role is has been added to for the drama, but I just can’t imagine watching my child go through such torture. I had the thought, as Mary prayed “why, when, how Son will you deliver yourself?” did Mary realize as she asked “why” her son had to go through the beating and death? Was she aware that it was also for her that He shed His blood? Did she realize during the process or after that He could not turn back from the path before Him? I can’t fathom my son being beat, let alone killed in my place, even if only in part for something I did.
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5
We don’t have a lot of insight into Mary and Jesus’s relationship from the Scriptures. We know of the virgin birth and how she pondered things that were said about Jesus by others. We see a glimpse of Mary’s concern when Jesus is twelve and stays behind at the temple. These are the first words that we see between the two:
“And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.” Luke 2:42-50 NKJV
Then there is silence again, but we see that Mary was present and active in the first mircle of Jesus’ public ministry.
“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it. ” Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!” This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.” John 2:1-11 NKJV
There are a few references to Mary being present, but no written conversation between the two. We know that she showed up, and wanted to speak with Jesus with a response that if I received from my son, might have really hurt my feelings.
“Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” But He answered and said to the one who told Him, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”” Matthew 12:47-50 NKJV
And then we see their last interaction at the cross. He appears to be making sure that she is cared for after His departure from the world.
“When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.” John 19:26-27 NKJV
Jesus started His ministry at the temple, listening and questioning the the teachers. His first miracle was at the direction of His mother. Some of His last words recorded before His death were to His mother. She was there in the upper room when the Holy Spirit fell on the day of Pentecost. She was involved, there by His side during His ministry. How helpless she must have felt as a bystander as she watched her Son be beaten and killed. How she must have really questioned the things that had been said about Him, did she misunderstand what was said about who He would be? The pain that she must have felt for her child, not even realizing that He was experiencing her grief and her sorrow, in addition to the rest of the world’s. I know how it hurts my heart to know Jesus paid that price for me, I can’t imagine the weight of carrying that for three days from a mother’s view.