La Pieta

No doubt Mary, mother of Jesus, remembered her precious son falling beneath the weight of a cruel, Roman cross—years after His death and resurrection.

How could a mother escape such haunting memories?


Mary had learned to live life courageously since the night the angel Gabriel delivered the message that she would carry the Savior of the world, and for nine months the Gospel had literally grown inside her.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  –Isaiah 9:6 ESV

Perhaps the ancient promise mocked Mary as she watched her son, Jesus, struggling. The weight of the cross upon His shoulders, treated more like a criminal than the lofty government official she had in mind. Only courage could help her bear such pain—the crowd mocking her son, shoving a crown of thorns upon His head, spitting in His face.

The same courage that had held Mary’s focus on the night the angel Gabriel filled her room and her virgin womb with God’s brilliant light and truth now held Mary strong and steady throughout her journey of obedience to God’s higher purpose. From the manger in Bethlehem to a hill called Mount Calvary, her son would pay the penalty for sin and death and offer all who would believe in Him life everlasting.

And Mary did believe. . . .

As she scanned the intricate lines of her son’s child-gone-man masculine face, hot tears fell to the ground. Every other heartache paled in comparison to watching her son being tortured by Roman soldiers. Where human frailty threatened her faith, courage stepped in to rescue, giving Mary strength to look past the blood pouring down to the promise it would fulfill.

Courageously gazing toward the cross, she knelt before Jesus, in full surrender to God’s greater purpose once again. Arms that had reached to her in childish need now stretched out in love to fulfill her own need. Eyes that had squinted in the shadows of the manger to see His first disciple, Mary, now squinted in agony while hanging in the shadow of death.

As the sky went dark, Mary’s tangled emotions might have grown dim, too, warring against fear, anxiety, insecurity and despair at such great loss. But none of these consumed her because her son, Jesus, was at work on the cross, fighting against every human weakness.

The mangled body of the child God had entrusted to her hung limp and lifeless on the cross, but Mary knew her son’s death offered life everlasting for all, because of the price her son had paid. As Jesus’ mother, she had witnessed His first earthly breath. As a child of God, she would witness the Breath of Heaven, breathing new life over the creation God so loved.

He had been her son.

He was now her Savior.

Long after the tomb was found empty, Mary’s heart was full. She would continue to carry the good news of the Gospel—evangelizing, recounting stories and the details of how God’s redeeming love had grown inside her. Confidence swelled with excitement, based on a promise: she would see her son again. How could she not believe the Gospel? She had given birth to Him.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”  –John 3:16-18

Friend, what better time to experience the fullness of God’s love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness than on the heels of Easter? Take courage in knowing the promise birthed in Mary is a promise that can be birthed inside of you, too!

Will you join me in courageously saying “yes” to God, even when life gets hard and circumstances seem scary or confusing? Let’s ask God to birth the Gospel in our lives in fresh, new ways and experience the fullness of joy offered to us through Christ’s death and resurrection.

Courageously go, dear friend—tell the world about all that Jesus, Mary’s son, has done for you!
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