1. Praise the Savior of the cross. Luke 1:46-55
The first thing we can note about Mary is how she praised the Savior of the cross. In this first passage of Scripture, Mary paid a visit to her relative Elizabeth, who was six months pregnant with a little boy we would come to know as "John the Baptist". Studies show that by six months, a baby is exhibiting all the behaviors of one outside the womb. Baby John could respond to voices by this point. It is interesting how God’s timing is such that Mary’s arrival would match with where John was developmentally.
Once Elizabeth told Mary what was going on in her womb, Mary broke out in a Holy Spirit inspired song known as "The Magnificat". This song of Mary is so named because of the first word that appears in the Latin Vulgate's rendering of it (the word "magnificat" means "to magnify, to enlarge, to make much of"). We read of this song in Luke 1:46-55. As I reproduce it below, I'll insert headings in parenthesis to give a sense of how Mary was praising the Savior of the cross.
Mary praised the Savior. She praised the One in her womb, who no doubt shared in the same Divine nature as the Father in Heaven, the primary focus of her praises. Although the Son, together with the Father and Holy Spirit are the One Savior God (Isaiah 43:10-11), we are reminded that the Father sent the Son to endure the cross (John 3:16; Acts 2:23-24). Remarkably, the Son of God came to share in Mary's humanity to be born the babe in Bethlehem, Jesus Christ our Lord (Matthew 1:23; John 1:14). So, we see Mary praising her Savior.
2. Pains of the cross. Luke 2:34-35
It is in this second point we find Mary introduced to what will become the pains of the cross. We pick up the text in Luke 2:34-35
I had a memory this week of when I was scarcely 4 or 5. I was a very sick boy. I had a seizure at that time, and all I recall was that I was in my mother’s 78 Malibu. I know this because the car had a red interior and I was told later that this car was newly purchased by my parents at the time.
The Christian life is described as somehow sharing in the "sufferings of Christ". These "sufferings" speak of what Jesus is currently undergoing in His present ministry of the right hand of the Father. He died once for all for sins. However, the current ministry of Jesus involves sharing in whatever sufferings Christians experience in their daily struggles to live for Him. I'm reminded of what He told Saul of Tarsus (whom later would be called "Paul") in His calling of Saul to salvation. He did not say "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting my Church?". Rather, Jesus said "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me" (Acts 9:4). These "struggles" are often classed with the pattern of pain on the cross, since the Christian is called to live a life shaped by it. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12
3. Prize the cross. Luke 2:45-52
We have witnessed how Mary praised the Savior of the cross and felt the pains of the cross. We now observe how she would come to prize the cross. Note what we read in Luke 2:45-52
When our oldest son was dropped off for the first time at preschool over twenty years ago, it was at the time one of the post painful experiences of our lives. He was dressed in his little bib-overalls and had a little Clifford the Big Red Dog backpack. We sat out in the parking lot until he first day was done.
As a Christian, I must ask myself "do I prize the cross?" The cross is a paradox of unparalleled pain and joy. The pain of separation from the cares of this world and putting to death the flesh are necessary for Christian growth. The joys of knowing Jesus at a deeper level outweighs the agonies. Paul writes in Colossians 3:15-16
4. Press toward the cross. John 19:25-27
We now arrive at one of the post heart wrenching scenes in all the Bible. John writes of Mary standing at the foot of the cross in John 19:24-27
Chuck Smith, a commentator, notes of this scene:
What is happening in this scene? Jesus here is fulfilling the Law (Exodus 20:12; Eph 6:1-3). He also was fulfilling his earthly life as a loyal son in all his household, seeing to the care of his mother to John. Only at the cross can the demands of the law and the demands of love be fulfilled. We could observe far more here, but let me hasten on to the final thought.
5. Power of the cross. Acts 1:11
The cross, as it would turn out, meant the completion of Christ’s atoning work. It also pointed beyond itself to the empty tomb and His ascension, which would begin His current work in Heaven. The cross and empty tomb, Calvary and Easter, each support one other.
What can we say of Jesus' work of salvation? The cross of Calvary is the wondrous root, and the resurrection that glorious flower which release the sweet aroma of His presence. The root of Calvary, the cross, came to be the basis for Christ’s finished work. The resurrection, the flower, came to be the proof of the Father’s acceptance of His atoning work. We saw in this post how Mary treasured in her heart all that Jesus said as a twelve year old boy. How much she comprehended – we’re not sure.