When we consider Mary’s life we have to admit a lot of it was very difficult. Yes, she was privileged to be the one through whom God would come to earth – she would be the Messiah-bearer, and as such a most blessed woman. However, from a purely human perspective, it was not plain sailing.
She was a virgin who was misunderstood as promiscuous. Her first-born was often treated as an orphan – since Joseph wasn’t his father – in addition to being considered a baby conceived out of wedlock. She wasn’t able to enjoy the usual home-birth surrounded by doting family and friends rejoicing in the first male-birth. On top of that, she had to give birth in a cave – a shelter for animals.
Then it seemed almost immediately she had to up and leave in order to prevent her Son being murdered by Herod the Great. Once Herod died they could return to Israel and settle down in Nazareth. However, shortly after the birth of their 6th child, Joseph died and Mary was left as a young widow with 7 small children.
Then at 30, Jesus, who had been a tower of strength and had assumed Joseph’s roles, left to be an itinerant Rabbi. He performed many miracles and brought joy and healing wherever He went - yet there was a constant undercurrent of mistrust and hatred from the religious authorities. In the end they gained the upper hand and Jesus was sentenced to death upon a Cross.
Mary had watched Jesus’ life from the manger to the Judgement Hall and on to Golgotha. Yes, she had loved Him, walked with Him, talked with Him, listened to Him, laughed and cried with Him. Now that time prophesied so long ago – not just in the Old Testament but through Simeon too – had reached its climax. The sword that pierced Jesus would also pierce her heart.
But she didn’t turn away. She didn’t run and hide. She would stand by her Jesus until the last breath had left His body. He was not only her ‘Son’; He was her Lord and Saviour, and she would stay with Him until the end – knowing that the Scriptures had to be fulfilled.
As she stood watching, Jesus looked at her. He saw her and He saw John and motioned for them to move together and support each other through that terrible time. She ‘lost’ Jesus but gained John for those desperate moments between Calvary and the ‘Empty’ Tomb. The Messiah had to suffer – before He could re-enter His glory.