Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Journey to the cross (through a mother's eyes) - Hearing God's voice at the foot of the cross

John 19:25 "Therefore the soldiers did these things. But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene."

Today's post continues a series of studies on the place and role of Mary the mother of Jesus and how she personally made her journey to the cross. In scripture, Mary is neither exalted or ignored, but rather afforded a role in the account of Jesus' life that portrays her not as a redeemer, but one needing redemption. The cross is the only place we can make sense of all the details of scripture, with Mary being no different. As we now turn our attention once again to following Mary to the cross, we are reminded how the journey began with God's glory and how such glory is never separated from the revelation of the cross. Today we see Mary at the foot of the cross hearing God's voice. 

The journey to the cross results in hearing God's voice at the foot of the cross
The Gospel accounts record seven sayings of Jesus uttered from His time on the cross. The first saying reveals to us the mission of Jesus in His crucifixion, namely: "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do". The second saying reveals the intent of Jesus on the cross - to save sinners, especially those who respond to the call of salvation, as evidenced in the criminal's confession of faith and Jesus' response: "Today you will be with me in paradise."

It is in the third saying where we get entry into the forsakeness of Jesus on the cross. Once Jesus gave his mother Mary over to John's care, He demonstrated that He, and He alone, had to bear the sins of the world, especially those who were to trust in Him both then and in the future. Following the giving over of Mary, Jesus then utters the fourth saying: "My God, My God why have you forsaken me!" 

What was this moment like for Mary? The event of Jesus' giving her to John is recorded in striking detail in John 19:25-29 - "Therefore the soldiers did these things. But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household." This final conversation that Jesus had with his earthly mother takes us back to the words of Simeon in Luke 2:34-35  "And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed—35 and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Mary heard the voice of God incarnate speaking to her at the foot of the cross. After this particular event, scripture gives us one final appearance of Mary before she dissappears into history. Though her journey to the cross led her to the foot of the cross, the journey was not yet over! More tomorrow...

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