Mary at the Cross

Amy Curran

Read: John 19:25-27

But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. (v. 25)

They say it is the worst thing a mother can endure—to watch her child die. Mary, whose life had been dedicated to keeping Jesus safe and alive in this world, must now watch him die for the world. “A sword will pierce through your own soul also,” said Simeon all those years ago (Luke 2:35). And now as the spear pierced her son’s side, she knew what he meant.

Even in this moment, Jesus cared for his mother. He turned to her and said, “Woman, behold, your son!” And then to John, his beloved disciple: “Behold, your mother!” (John 19:26). Mary was cared for, but by no means consoled. These moments were very far from the angel’s visit—the promise of new life, of new birth. The promise of God’s work bringing about freedom for her people and for the world. This was not that—this was more death, at the hands of their Roman oppressors. Did Mary question, at this point, what was happening? When the sky turned dark and her son cried out, did her heart despair?

Perhaps Mary realized, even in that moment, that this pain was a part of re-creation. Jesus’ cry was like the cry of a woman in labor—it was for the sake of new life. Soon, weeping would be turned to joy. Did Mary know that the whole world was about to be made new? —Amy Curran

As you pray, ask God to help you trust in the hope of new life.