Scripture Reading: John 19:25-27
25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman,[a] here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
- John 19:26 The Greek for Woman does not denote any disrespect.
A Mother’s Worst Nightmare”
Music by Lin Manuel; “Quiet Uptown” from Hamilton The Musical
Shalom. My name is Mary and I AM Jesus’ mother. I know that you don’t know
much about me apart from the Christmas story…but I was there beyond that time in
the manger. I was there all 33 years of his life. Some of you argue today about how
old he was when he died, but a mother knows. I raised him. I fed and clothed him. I
hugged him when he was hurting… I wiped the tears from his face. I tucked him
safely into his bed each night and woke up to his smiling face and bouncing curls every
morning. He was by baby boy….my Yeshuah. That’s what I called him. The Greek
scribes, as I newly understand, translated his name from Yeshuah (which means
Joshua) to Jesus actually. That’s because Hebrew and Greek languages don’t quite fit
each other very well. Greek and Hebrew don’t fit well into English either very well so
I’ve learned. So…the name Jesus it became and still is 2000 years later.
Jesus was the light of my life. He had brothers as well, but Jesus was my first
child. And he was so very special. He had this inner light…this inner kindness and
grace…and he was SO loving! He loved EVERYONE! Love, love love!!! And…He
had a different way of looking at the world. Like he was able to see the world through
God’s eyes. He was always standing up to other neighborhood kids when they were
picking on someone or bullying something that was different. He would help women
back to their homes with their jugs of water. And that Yeshuah…so…that Jesus…he
certainly did have a habit of making my heart worry!
We went on family vacations every year together. Well…they weren’t vacations
as much as they were pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. One
time…I will NEVER forget it…Jesus was 12 years old and were headed back home to
Nazareth from Jerusalem; and Jesus wasn’t walking with Joseph and I. I didn’t think
much of it at the time. I thought that he was just with another part of the caravan with
other members of our family…off romping around with other “almost teenagers.” I
believe that you call them “tweens” now? But when we rested for the evening. I
realized that my son was NOT anywhere to be found. Joseph and I immediately began
a frenzied journey back to Jerusalem. It took us THREE days to find him. And when
we did…we found in the temple courts. We found him sitting among the teachers and
he was asking them questions…and the teachers were asking him questions. The
teachers were amazed by him! Like I said earlier…he had this “way” about him. His
special way of seeing the world and understanding things. But this was simply
something that was not done! Children were not to be listened to or tended to by
teachers. Let alone answered! Only grown men with status and power had that right
Well…after I got over my initial shock of what I was seeing, I ran to him and said,
“Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously
searching for you.” This was his response…”Why were you searching for me? Didn’t
you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Any other mom’s here tonight? He
seriously just back talked me…and sassy! Hard pass! Didn’t I know I had to be in my
Father’s house… Joseph and I were dumbfounded! We could not believe what he
said and how he spoke to us! Let alone try to understand what he meant by it. It was
a LONG walk back home to Nazareth for us that’s for sure. But…when we did get
home…he was back to my sweet, obedient boy again.
I treasured every moment that I had with him. Every moment is engraved on my
Many people have asked me questions since I’ve been here, “Mary, did you
know that your son would walk on water?” “Mary, did you know that your son would
save our sons and daughters?” Someone even played me a song with some of the
same questions in it. But then the questions turned toward the end of his life. “How
did you feel when Jesus was crucified?“ “How did you get through everything?” How
did I feel? How did I get through “everything”? “You must have known that he was
going to be raised from the dead, right?” There are no words from my Hebrew
language…or from your English language…that come close to “how I felt” and what I
went through in those moments when I was gazing up at my dying son.
(Sung) There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down Than learn to live with the unimaginable The unimaginable…my son, my child.
(Spoken) I didn’t know that this was going to happen to him. How could I have known? I knew he was going to save us all… But not like this..this… This was too much for mother’s heart to bear… Too much to wake up from… This is worse than my worst nightmare…this was real. My God…where are you now? He is crying out to you! Your messenger did NOT say this was in store for my child… He’s my child too! Did you forget about that? Jesus is my child too! So my heart cried out to God in silent prayer.
(Sung) Look at where we are Look at where we started I know I didn’t know this was coming But hear me out That would be enough If I could spare his life If I could trade his life for mine He’d be standing here right now And I could smile, and that would be enough I don’t pretend to know The challenges you’re facing I know there’s no replacing what I’ve lost And I need time But I’m not afraid I know who I carried Just let me stay here by his side That could be enough
(Spoken) I would’ve traded his life for mine… But instead… He traded his life for mine…and for yours… For all of yours… It’s what you had planned all along, right God?!? All of the words he spoke to all of us…
He knew this was coming. (Sung) There are moments that the words don’t reach There is a grace too powerful to name We push away what we can never understand We push away the unimaginable.
(Spoken) I know I have to forgive you God… To carry on…I have to dig deeper into my faith… than this nightmare to forgive you… I have to forgive you…if my son asked for forgiveness… For the ones that broke and tortured and killed his body…
(Sung) But you are asking for the unimaginable.