What was it like for Mary the mother of Jesus to watch her son die upon the cross? At His dedication as a young baby in the temple courts, the Holy Spirit had moved Simeon to predict a future soul piercing experience. As Mary had ‘pondered these things in her heart,’ I’m sure she often wondered when that prediction would be fulfilled. By the time Jesus died, she had been a widow for some years and now her older son had been arrested, tried, beaten, scourged and hung upon a cross.
Mark takes us to the horrific death scene and describes a group of women watching “from a distance,” likely feeling quite overwhelmed, depressed and perplexed. These were the women who “had followed him and cared for his needs.” They had been numbered among the disciples and had been treated with honour and respect by the One they called ‘Master.’
“Many other women had come up with him to Jerusalem…” They had probably been part of the triumphant crowd on Palm Sunday, singing Hosannas and welcoming the Son of David into the city limits. They had heard his teaching, seen him perform miracles and seen His gentle touch of children along with His scathing words for hypocrites. Who was He? Was He really the Messiah, the Christ, the Saviour of the world? What was salvation? How would He redeem Israel? Would He put an end to the Roman domination? Would He crush this evil nation with a rod of iron as Psalm 2 had predicted? When would his enemies become His footstool? What just happened?
Did Mary share her memories from over 30 years before? Did she recount the visit of the angel, the song she sang in simple faith, the perplexity of His comments at the age of twelve during their Passover visit? How did she and the other women survive these hours of anguish? By quietly singing psalms, by praying, by meditation? Scripture remains silent as they gaze in stunned silence on a very difficult day.
How do you survive soul-piercing hours, days, weeks, years? Let’s be more transparent with the God-given grace provided for us during such blocks of time. Our simple testimony of God’s provision may lift the heart of another Christ follower and prepare them for a similar experience.