A Narrative from the mother of Jesus
Who am I? An old woman? Yes. But, who am I? A descendant of King David? Yes. But, who am I? A Galilean? Yes. But, who am I? A woman named Mary? Yes. But who am I?
I am unworthy. I was young. I was poor. I did not understand. Prophecy foretold. It was written in the scrolls! I had heard it many times. There was so much of it in my mind. I knew it, but I did not understand. Oh, how much I did not really know! Again I ask, “Who am I?” I am nothing. I am Mary, the mother of the Jesus, yes… But I am nothing. HE is EVERYthing.
It was the dream of every young maiden to be the mother of the Messiah. When I was young we would talk about it, and laugh. How could it be one of us? We were poor. Surely, the Messiah would be born into a wealthy family; He would be king after all. Imagine my shock after Gabriel appeared to me! I was dazed. I was stunned. I asked, “Who am I?”
Suddenly I felt so unworthy, so unprepared. How could I be the mother of the Messiah? The Messiah! Joseph wasn’t going to believe this! I just knew he wouldn’t… and if he wouldn’t who would?! To this day I still thank God for sending Joseph a message and telling him that the child I was carrying was conceived by the Holy Spirit. If it had not been for that, I would have had to raise Jesus completely by myself.
We all know the prophecy of Isaiah: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” We all knew the prophecy, but how many people really believed it. If a young girl ends up pregnant was the question, “Are you carrying the Messiah?” Of course it wasn’t! I was treated with shame. Everyone was sure I had conceived out of wed-lock. Yet, because Joseph had been told, by God, the truth of the matter, he supported me and helped me share the load of criticism.
I remember thinking, “Wow! My son will grow up to be King of Kings!” That meant that one day, we would not be poor. We would not be despised. My son would be treated with honor and respect. The whole nation would bow down to Him and serve Him. Was I ever wrong!
I had heard in Isaiah where it says:
“He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment,
And who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.”
I had heard it, but I did not know it… Oh, how I did not understand.
Right after his birth, in Bethlehem -which by the way was also written of in the Scroll of Micah, and a miracle in and of itself since we had been living in Nazereth in Galilee until Augustus ordered the census- the shepherds came to worship Him. Angels had appeared to them, to tell them of the birth of the Savior, the Messiah. They were praising God and left telling everyone of the good news. I thought this would be the beginning of his recognition… But again, I was wrong.
There was so much I did not understand. I knew who my Son was. I had a hard time grasping why God would entrust His Son to me! But it was hard to see that others did not know who He was. There were the two elderly people at the temple that recognized Him, Anna and Simeon, so gentle and kind. I treasured the words they spoke about my Son. I knew they knew that He was the promised One. Simeon tried to warn me of what was to come. He told me that a sword would pierce my soul. I did not understand. It all makes so much sense now…
As my dear Child grew, I taught Him the scriptures. Whatever it was that we were doing, there was always a scripture to be discussed or reviewed. The words of Moses rang often in my ears: “Listen, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deut. 6:4-9) Yes, Jesus learned the scriptures by heart at a young age.
I remember when we took Him to Jerusalem for His first Passover and we left Him there!! Of all the things I could have done, how could I have been so careless? It took us three days to find Him! Three days… sound familiar? When we did find Him, He was baffling the scribes with His twelve-year old knowledge of the scriptures. He knew the scriptures well. He thought of their meaning constantly. I do believe that from that Passover on He understood what His mission on earth was.
He knew, but I did not. He came back home. He was a good boy and grew to be a good man. It was hard to see Him leave home. But He was always a good Son and took good care of me. I heard the reports of His miracles and His preaching. I also heard what the elders and rulers thought of Him. Again, I could not understand.
My Son was the Messiah. We had been taught that He would save us from Roman rule and become King. Why was He not doing this? I clung to the words of Solomon,
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.”
This was my daily prayer. I had to trust God. I could not trust anyone else… But still I did not understand.
And then… why? Oh, why?! Did they have to beat my Son? Why did they have to curse Him and hang Him on a cross? If you have never lost a child, if you have never had your child mistreated or abused, if you have never had to see your offspring in utmost pain and could do nothing to relieve it, then you have no clue what I endured. No clue at all. It is not something that can be imagined.
If you have lost a child, if you have had a child who was mistreated or abused, if you have seen your offspring in utmost pain and could do nothing to relieve it, well then, maybe, just maybe, you can begin to imagine the agony I suffered. I watched the pounding hammer (shudder), the cruel words, the blood streaming from His wounds, and the struggle it was to take each breath.
I had never known true sorrow until that weekend when they crucified my Son. Yes, I had lost my husband years before and that was hard. I did grieve his death. But Jesus… Jesus was my hope, my Messiah, the Son of God, and the Savior of Israel. He was my everything… and He was just letting them falsely accuse Him and crucify Him. They pierced His side with a spear. The sword stabbed my soul. Simeon’s words came back to me. Why? How? What was happening? I did not understand.
Three days… Yes, three days later John, one of Jesus’ followers, the one who Jesus told to take care of me while He was hanging on the cross, he came running into the house where we were staying and he was excited!! Excited?! How could he be excited?! Then, he told me that Jesus was alive! I had lost sight of my Son, of God’s Son, once again for three days. He had tried to explain it before. He had said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19) He had told His disciples what would happen. But none of them remembered.
Now it all started making more sense. Jesus, sweet Jesus, the little baby who I had watched grow up to be a kind and compassionate Man… My Son, the Son of God, had lived his life according to the scriptures. He fulfilled prophecy upon prophecy. John and I spent hours reviewing them. He was the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) just as his cousin John had declared in the wilderness. I understand it now.
He was not just my son, He was my sacrifice. He is my Savior and has paid the price to redeem me from sin. He is love! The joy I have now is unspeakable. Ask me again, who am I?
I am Mary the redeemed, for I have been saved from my sin by the death of my son, the Son of God! Yes, I understand now.
Who are you?
You are the mother of your child. God has given you the gift of that child so that you can mold and shape them to become who He needs them to be. It is not a job for just anyone; it is a job just for you, only you. Each child has a special purpose and mission that only they can fulfill and as you mother them, you are preparing them for it. True they are not, Jesus; yet, they ARE a child of God! A child of God that was given to you.
You may not understand all that you go through with them, the tears, the joys, the sorrows, the discoveries, the changes… So much comes with growing up. When you don’t understand, cling to the words of our Father and do not trust your own understanding, “in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” He will lead you and guide you as you teach, train, love, and enjoy your precious child. Though your heart may break at times, though it may burst with joy at times, through it all there is a place in the heart of that child that only you can fill.
God gave you the gift of His precious child, just as He gave your child the gift of you as their mother!
Happy Mother’s Day! May it be filled with God’s blessings and goodness.