Mary as an Example of the Hardships & Joys of Parenting
As we move into the Easter season, let us look at three aspects of the mother of Jesus’ life. She was the mother of God, she suffered at the cross, and she rejoiced in the resurrection of her Son.
Mary, the Mother of God
It seems like a philosophical and theological contradiction to say that Mary, a human, gave birth to God. In fact, in some protestant circles, this view is seen as a false teaching. However, in order for Jesus to save humanity from their sins, Mary literally must be the mother of God. She gave birth to an eternal, holy, all-powerful, all-loving, and infinite being.
In order for Jesus to forgive our sins, there are a significant number of requirements. First of all, Jesus must be human. In order to take the sin of humanity, the sacrifice must be someone who represents mankind. Secondly, for the sacrifice to be eternal and fulfill God’s law, it must be eternal, infinite, and perfectly holy. Attributes that can only be met by God.
The only way for Jesus to “fulfill the righteous requirement of the law,” (Romans 8:3-4) is to be both 100% God and 100% man. This union of humanity and Deity is only possible if Mary gives birth to someone who meets these requirements. In other words, as the church Council of Ephesus agreed, Mary as the God-bearer, was the Mother of God.
Mary, the Suffering Mother
In Luke 1:46-48 Mary says, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.” We can all be very certain that she could not even imagine that in approximately 30 years, her baby boy would be publicly executed on the cross. After she became an outcast as a pregnant teen, after she, a sinner, raised a sinless child, and after her other children rejected her eldest, I am sure she believed God would reward her with some peace.
However, it was not meant to be. The God Mary magnified in Luke 1, provided a Savior in her Son – but out of necessity, He needed to be a sacrificial Savior. A position she did not foresee. So as Jesus hung on the cross, without her natural children by her side, our Savior entrusted his mommy to the Apostle John. A commitment John was fulfilling decades later.
I imagine Mary on Good Friday evening, burying her Son and wondering why God had abandoned His promise to her. She most likely questioned God’s goodness and promises. She had to wonder what had happened to God’s plan. She could not see that Sunday was coming. Yet, I believe in these dark times, she was waiting on God; and at this time, she may have called to mind the next portion of her song from Luke 1, “for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”
Mary, the Rejoicing Mother
After Jesus rose from the dead, we can only imagine how His mother Mary reacted. Only a few days before, she was present at His execution, but the tomb was now empty and He was alive. In the days which followed prior to Jesus’ ascension into heaven, she undoubtedly learned more about God’s plan for the world and why her sweet baby boy was hung on a cross.
However, Mary’s other children came to understand God’s plan and to believe in Jesus as the Messiah after the resurrection. From a family point of view, Jesus’ return from the grave brought not just a spiritual change, but a relational one as well. Jesus coming back to life gave her other children the proof they needed to follow Jesus. She had to be overwhelmed when Jesus appeared to His siblings and they accepted God’s plan of salvation.
In fact, according to tradition, one of Jesus’ brothers (Jude) wrote one of the books of the New Testament. He wrote in verses 20-21 of his letter, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” Mary wrapped herself in the love of God and waited for His mercy while she trusted that God’s promises would be fulfilled. Through her example of a faithful servant, a suffering mother, and a patient believer, we have a blueprint of thriving in difficult times.
Written by Scott Nandor
RCS High School Principal