It was the worst day of her life. An indescribable nightmare as she watched her son being accused and then beaten…the crowds jeered at him as he was forced to carry his own cross through town. She watched as he struggled through his pain and exhaustion, stumbling along the way. She must have felt hopeless and afraid…and very alone. There was nothing she could do to help him as the soldiers took the nails…placed them on his palms and feet, and drove them through his skin, anchoring his body to the rough wooden cross. He screamed in agony as they lifted the heavy wooden beams and shoved the base into the hole with a jolt, sending fiery shots of pain throughout his body. She watched as he struggled to breathe because his body was stretched out, hanging by the nails that pulled at his flesh. Her heart must have been in unspeakable agony as she watched him struggle to expand the lungs again and again.
His mouth was dry in the hot sun and a soldier lifted a sponge with vinegar on it and cruelly mocked her son with a drink that would not quench his growing thirst. The crown of thorns that they had placed on his head dug into his skin and drips of blood slowly moved down and some of them mixed with his sweat and the dirt on his face. There was a sign above him that read “King of the Jews” that the soldiers had made in jest, but she knew in her heart that it was really true. The promise that had been made to her so long ago…she still believed.
Now, as she watched her son struggling with each breath, she heard him talking…saying to one man that hung beside him that he would be forgiven! The man was overcome with emotion and she hung her head and wept as well. The minutes slowly passed and her son soon began to weaken, but he didn’t die. He held on and then without warning, spoke some more. He looked up and asked the Father to forgive the men who had done this to him!
How can that be?
She was not so sure that they deserved it. Her heart ached at the compassion and love her son continued to show. Why didn’t they see it? Why didn’t they understand who he was and that he loved them so much?
Finally, as the day began to fade, he spoke one last time and she heard him say, ‘It is finished’ and something remarkable happened. There was an earthquake that caused her to fall flat on the ground. As the earth shook beneath her, she stole a look at her son one more time. He was limp and lifeless. When the shaking stopped, a soldier moved toward her son and stabbed his side to see if he was still alive; but he was not. Her son was now dead.
Good Friday was not so “Good” for her.
The rest of her day was spent waiting for his body as they lowered it to the ground. She wept and cried out to God, not knowing that her son would not be dead for long…not understanding what had just occurred…
The next day…another dark day in her life. One that was filled with fear and confusion. I wonder what Mary was thinking as she undoubtedly heard people talking about the crucifixion? Maybe she heard someone make fun of him for not saving himself. Maybe she was too afraid to go out in public…maybe she was just too sad.
I’m thinking about her today and how difficult it must have been for her and all the disciples. They must have still feared for their own lives…
Only a few more hours remained until their fear would be replaced with rejoicing.
He must have watched his earthly mother, Mary, in her sadness. I can picture Him sending angels to surround her and minister to her, comforting her as she wept. It must have been tempting to whisper in her ear that tomorrow was coming…
Finally…the first Easter morning…the day after the Sabbath
It was a quiet morning…there were no Easter baskets or chocolate bunnies and certainly no egg hunts. There were no pictures by the front porch of spring flowers in the new dresses and suits. The two Mary’s went to the tomb to find it empty. An angel appeared to them to tell them not to be afraid and that Jesus had risen. How strange that must have been…how unlikely anyone would believe them…
Many have written about the significance of Jesus appearing to the women first. About how women were not considered very important and how He must have come to them as He did in the manger and later on the cross…to the lowest place to be…making it the most important today.
A manger was considered dirty and filthy and no one would have dared place a baby there…now we fill our homes with scenes from the stable with the baby Jesus in His manger.
A cross was one of the vilest forms of torture and death…now we wear them around our necks and place them throughout our homes and churches as symbols of hope and victory over sin and death.
A woman was considered property–not worth much and easily discarded. Jesus came to the women first…showing His view of them as being worthy and valuable.
He was laid to rest in a borrowed tomb…leaving this world as poor as he had arrived…
Back to Mary…what was she feeling? What was on her heart that day? I’m sure it took more than one day for her to fully realize what had happened; but oh, the joy in her heart when she saw her son…Alive!
He has risen…He has risen indeed!