Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. John 19:25.
It began in Eden. She would have been the perfect woman; the perfect wife; and the perfect mother. Instead, she became a criminal and was sentenced to die after a life with pain. The death sentence was promptly transferred to another. The pain was not.
Her husband also came under judgment. He, too, would know pain, but not like hers. He would never know the pain of childbirth. He would never know the suffering of a mother’s heart. No man ever would.
She first felt childbirth-pain when Cain was born. But holding the dear child replaced the pain. It returned with vengeance when she stood at the grave of her second son—knowing that her first son was a murderer.
We are told, “Adam named his wife Eve because she would become the mother of all the living” (Genesis 3:20).
That means she is our mother—and our mother’s mother. That means Eve’s life reflects a shadow for all human lives, especially the lives of mothers. It is a painful picture.
We think of all the painful times when mothers had to send their children off into the care of others. Hannah gave up small Samuel so he could minister to the Lord under Eli. We hear, “Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice” (I Samuel 2:19). We wonder if she cried on the trip home.
How many mothers have waited in vain for their son to return from battle? We hear, “Through the window peered Sisera’s mother; behind the lattice, she cried out, ‘Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why is the clatter of his chariots delayed?’” (Judges 5:28)
By this time, Sisera, the commander of a massive Canaanite army, was counted among the fallen. If he had been a modern American Soldier, his mother might have received a folded flag and the words, “On behalf of a grateful nation.” Many such flags have been handed out.
Our hearts must go out to such mothers. It even pains us to think of the mothers of our enemies that have watched in vain for their dear child’s return. But none can compare to the pain of the mother from Nazareth who, along with her sister and some friends, watched the execution of her son during darkness at midday.
The crowd that gathered at Golgotha on that day saw only the painful sight of torture and dying. They had no idea that they were on the sidelines of the greatest battle ever fought—the showdown between Good and Evil, between Death and Life.
They did not realize that the destiny of the human race lay in the outcome. Rebellious angels had been condemned to forever-abandonment from the only source of peace and joy. Would rebellious humans (and all were rebellious) have any hope to escape forever-pain?
They would. They did. But the warning to Mary would also come true: “And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:35).
God chose Mary to be the mother of Jesus. God chose our mother for us. We brought her pain. Some was unavoidable. Some was piled onto her by our words and actions.
The Bible says we owe her honor. Shame on us if we do not give it.
Maybe on a Mother’s Day, we can send a card, or a letter addressed to: “Dear Mom”—if she is still living. If she is not, if she has already gone on ahead of us, then we will need to wait. She will forever be our dear mom.
We pray: Eternal Lord of Life, we thank you for giving us life. We thank you for our mothers. But most of all, we thank you for offering Life to our mothers. Help us to love, honor, and appreciate them until we stand with them to see you in glory. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, MN Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military