TITLE: Mary's Story
By Kathy Barnes
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The vendors in the outside courts are selling their prizes. The sound of the bleating lambs and cooing doves fill the air. The crowds of pilgrims are pushing and trying to making their way to temple dragging a helpless spotless lamb behind them for the offering. The temple priests are crying out at the top of their lungs praising God and begging forgiveness. The smell of incense is heavy in the air. All the excitement reminds me of when I enter this city last year.
It has been a long hard year for me, since last I was in Jerusalem. My son, my first born, was murdered here, outside the city on Golgotha Hill. If I had known what was to come I would have stayed away, yet it would have not stopped things. When we enter the city, last year my son was greeted as a king, branches were thrown down on road for him to follow and cries of Hosannas rang out. The people cheered and pushed to see him, wanting to see what great miracle he would do this time. He had healed the sick, given sight to the blind, fed the crowds, and raised the dead. They wanted to hear the words of life he spoke. They said he was a prophet. I was so proud of him, as any mother would be.
Yet only a day later the tide was turning against him. I watched in horror not understanding or knowing how to turn back the sea. Was there some way I could have stopped him for having to drink this cup? Sometime I feel the world has hated him for the day he was born. We were force take a long journey. We could not have him at home as we were planning. All the rooms were taken when we got to David’s City and my son was born in a stable, a cave carve out of the mountain. Joseph, my sweet husband did the best he could do, he cleaned and washed down and manger and found new hay for it. He shoveled the muck away and laid down a blanket for me to lie upon. He kept watch over us as our son was born. Was this any away for a promised child to be born? Yet only few years later we were force to flee in the middle of the night because the king so hated my baby that he was killing all boys about his age. What did he expect the child to do, led a revolution with a rattle? What had my precious baby done to deserve this? I don’t know.
Jesus was beautiful and perfect. I know. I know all mothers feel this way but he was special. The angel Gabriel himself has told me that this was God’s own son. I made his food, I change his diapers, and I held him in my arms rocking him to sleep. The hands I held would one day heal the leaper, feed five thousand and caste out demons. These feet so small would one day walk upon the water. His eyes would look into the heart of man and see it darkness. His ears would hear our hopeless cries for rescue. His lips would bring healing and blessing upon the world. His heart pumped the blood that one day would be shed to defeat death and Hell.
I watch him grow, strong, sweet and wise. He followed Joseph around the shop and learned a trade as any good son would do. I wonder if knew when he first pick up a nail and held it in his hand that it would one day pierce him. I often saw him making beams with his father, did he know one day he would lay on it, and take its shame. When his father first taught him to make a plump line, was it the same one he used with His other Father to set sun and moon in place. It seems silly now but I worried that he would get hurt among the boards, hammer and nails. If he had told me the path that lay ahead, I would never have let him leave the safety of the shop.
Have you ever lost God? I did. I lost him in travel once. I took my eye of him for one minute and next thing I knew he was gone. His Daddy told me not to worry. He was a man now he could take care of himself. Jesus was twelve. Joseph was sure he was just with friends. However, after two days I still had not seen him. Jesus knew our plans that we were leaving the city, our whole group was. I guess our plans were not His. I asked everyone if they had seen him. No one had, so finial we had to go back and track him to the last place we saw him. It broke my heart that I had lost him and I was so afraid that he was hurt and alone. How could he forgive me, his own mother for leaving him? I was so scared and mad that I scolded him. He laughed at me and said I should have known he was at His Father house on His business. Sometimes I really did not understand that boy. You see all these gray hairs he given me. I guess that what I get for trying to take care of God.
He had brothers and sisters that he played and laughed with like any child. He was always kind and gentle with them, even when they failed to recognize who He really was. He went to synagogue and learned the Torah like any respectful Jew. The Rabbi even said when he spoke he spoke beyond his years. Looking back, he must have laugh at me, trying to explain creation to him that made the heavens. Still he honored me and obeyed me. Jesus was patient with me even turning water in to wine because I asked. Although he called me “woman” like he did not know what to do with me.
It was hard for me to let go and watch him give himself to so many others. At times, I did not understand why. I follow him to one city where he was preaching. Men had torn the roof apart and were lowering a man down to him. I sent word that I was in the crowd. But, he did not stop what he was doing. I his mother had to wait while he healed a man and preached to strangers. I worried the crowds always seem to be so many and he was only one. I feared he would over work himself for there were always so many hurting. He would work for hour on hours. With time, I learned he had a bigger role to play than simple being my child. He was also my Savior and my God. I gave him life, but He would give me eternal life. It hurts my head sometime to try to understand it all.
I am still Jesus mother and no mother should ever have to watch what I have seen. Children are not supposed to die before their parents. They told lies about my child. He never hurt anyone. Never was anyone afraid of him. He had pity and healed everyone. He led no armies. He owned no weapons. His friends even denied knowing him and left him. He did not get what he deserved and did not deserved what he got.
The Rabbi brought him before courts with lies. He would not respond to them so the hit and beat him in the face and head over and over again. Then they spit on him and curse him. They striped him and exposed him to shame him. Then they beat him with a cat of nine tails. Whoever came up with that evil thing should have been crucified not my Jesus. Each of the nine cords were embedded with glass, rocks and wire so that when they hit huge chunks of skin was torn away exposing flesh to the bone. Not once or twice but thirty-nine time it was used. It was so unthinkable, so mean. I wanted to look with each blow to assure myself he was ok, but the view was so bad. John pulled me away. Jesus body was so bruised and beaten; I would have not recognized my own son, if I had not known it was he. They placed a circle of briar and thorns on his head, mashing it down until the blood pour out of him and ran down his face. It had been a good face, a strong face. Now it was black and blue, swollen and covered with blood. They put a robe upon him, laughed and mocked him and then stripped it off again. The wounds that had started to heal were ripped open again. Blood oozed from his tattered body.
Pilate found no fault with him. Jesus should have been let go, but no they held him for crimes he was innocent of doing. Pilate washed his hands of innocent blood and the people placed it shedding on their heads. The leaders were mad because he cared more for people than their rules and traditions. The people were given a choice of freeing him, who only show them love or another prisoner. They chose to save a man who brought terror to the hearts of the people, one who had robbed and murder countless innocents. They choose to kill my son. Crucify him! Crucify him! The cry still echoes in my mind. They were not saying that when they want something from him. If I could have died for him, I would. My heart broke; my baby would be no more. I could not stop the tears. I could not stop it from happening. Why did he not fight? Why did he not run away when he had the chance? Why this was all happening?
The next day was cold and gray. They placed a bar across his shoulders. He struggled to stand beneath it. It was as if he had the weight of the world upon his shoulders. He was already at death door. The crowd not content with his death yelled and hit him wanting to inflect as much pain as possible along the way. John had to hold me back as I tried desperately to reach my son. He finally picked me up and carried me away. It was a struggle to keep me out of harm’s way. Jesus fell repeatedly and then one final time. He could not get up. The soldier pulled a man from the crowd and compelled him to carry the cross. When they reach the hill, Jesus got a moment to ponder what was to come as they nailed the board together metal hitting metal. Clang. clang. They stripped him of his clothing exposing him for all the world to see and then gambled for who got his clothes, his only possession. Then they placed him upon the tree. Clang, clang as the nail pierce through one hand. Clang, clang it pierced through the other one. Clang, clang as they placed the nail through his feet. No sound has ever been so horrendous. I can still hear it in my head. Then they lifted the cross up and dropped it in a hole. Boom! It came to an abrupt halt. The force of it shook the ground and a cry escaped my son. Even in death, he was thinking of me, my sweet, sweet baby boy. He spoke to John and said, “Behold your mother” and to me, “Behold your son.”
Breathing was excruciating. Each breath required him to use his tortured muscles to lift his body to grasp as tattered breath. Over and over, I watch my son lift his body. He cried, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” How could he forgive them? It should have been them on the cross not him. It was their debt. They hung a sign King of the Jews above his head. The soldiers and one other prisoner mocked him, daring him to come of the cross and save himself if he were God. They did not understand that it was love, not nails that were holding him to the cross. The other prisoner asked for mercy. Somehow, he managed to speak and gave forgiveness and a place in heaven for the man.
The pain was more than man could tolerate. The soldiers offered wine to take away it sting. He cried out, “My God my God why have you forsaken me.” For once, you could tell He really was alone. The sun refused to shine, and darkness covered all the land. For endless hours, he hung upon that cursed tree. Time seem to stand still as I watch him slowly suffer in agony. Pain etched across his face. Was it not yesterday I kissed that new born face? I wanted to take him in my arms and rock him with a song like when I did when he was little. Instead, he open wide his arms and cried out, “It is finished and give up His Spirit.” It was awful to be there and to be so helpless. I screamed, “No!” John pulled me away. An earthquake shook the land. The temple curtain was torn in half. It was over, He was dead and with Him, all hope.
A soldier pierced his side with a spear to insure that he was dead. Blood and water burst forth. A fellow believer, Joseph of Arimathea, begged for his body that we might bury him before the Sabbath. It was such a rush against time, we could not prepare it correctly. I was consumed which grief. I thought that death had won. I had been with him all his life yet I still did not yet understand.
Immediately after the Sabbath the girls had gone to the tomb to complete the burial preparation by add the spices to his body, but came back saying He was not there. At first, I thought that the Romans had been so heartless as to steal his body. Suddenly, He was there in the room glowing from head to foot. You could see where the nails had pierced his hands and feet. He smiled and said I told you I would rise in three days. He had said it but we did not understand. He had won over death and the grave. He was alive again! Alive! I am not sure I understood until then that it was for my sin, he died. It was my debt he paid. He took my place that I might live. He was the lamb. He was the bridge back to God. For forty more days, he lingered here on Earth completing his ministry, appearing to over 500 people before returning to his Heavenly Father. It was amazing to see Him ascend back to heaven, mighty angels on each side.
I am back to city now, to looking for his return. What I would give for Him to run and put His arms around me and said I love you one more time. He promised it would not be long. He said he was going to prepare a place for us and then he would return. I not sure, if I still think of you more as son, or king, but Jesus hurry home. I miss you. Have you seen Him? Do you know Him?
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