Good Friday: Mary Ponders

This guest post is by Shannon Claussen:

Through the Eyes of Mary

I move slowly, with weary anticipation, to see my son. My gaze drops down towards my sandals, the stitching is coming unraveled, and one thread in particular is barely hanging on, about to let go; it is a mirror of my emotional self. The feet I see do not show the aged, callous look, of a woman who should be losing her son. With each step I feel the weight of a thousand yokes upon my back, I am pained.  My soul aches with an inevitable understanding of the outcome of the events that are taking place. Oh, Lord, give me strength. This was to happen, it was prophesied, but I feel like my soul is being ripped from me while at the same time I am filled with the peace of our God, Yahweh; I must move on. The sounds of the crowd are a symphony of chaos, and the smell is a mixture of desolation, and feeble, jaded, hope, which is enough to propel me home, to the safety of the familiar, but I must move on.  I need to see my son.

As I round the corner the symphony of noise crescendos to a volume intolerable to the human ear. I hurry along, nervous, yet compelled as if a hundred roman soldiers are carrying me, I am weightless and out of my body- and then I see Him- my son. I am torn to pieces, but the compulsion continues and I thank our God for the strength to move on.  It is evident that He has been abused, flogged, beaten. For the cloth on His back is soaked from the scourging He has endured. The strength that I knew in Him is ebbing, the glow of omniscience is fading from His eyes, and all at once a look of complete submission advances over His face.  My son, the son of God, whom I’ve raised with the divine help of the great I Am has the look of an ordinary human, his divinity has been stripped from Him. I see fear in His eyes, or, is that a reflection of myself I see?

He sees me, and it is as though He is looking through a telescope from a million miles away, there is a certain distance in His eyes; I know he is going home soon.  His lip curls into a look all too familiar from his childhood, and with gracious-servitude, and pure determination of heart He pushes on.  As we trod on He stumbles, and the roman soldiers call on a man known as Simon to carry His cross for Him. I watch His feet, as they move from cobble…to…cobble. It seems like an eternity between each step, and in each step the years of His life unfold before my eyes, and I reflect on them.

We reach the hill on which he is to be strung.  I am nauseous with fear so intense that I am incapable of breathing.  However, our dear Lord has instilled upon me an odd sense of peace, I am curious to its feeling, and His true intent.  My boy is placed upon the tree, and I wait.  I feel like I am holding my breath and I wonder if it will ever return.  I must confess, if I cease to breathe another breath it would not be for any other reason but the relief of the intense sadness I am feeling.  I am held captive, watching in an odd mixture of terror, admiration, and bewilderment.  As the hours press on it is as if we are stuck in a time vortex, and I pray with all my might to the Father of my son to just take Him home: “oh God, oh God, oh heavenly Father please, oh please take Him, for I cannot stand another moment- do your will Lord, with steadfastness and swift efficacy.”

He cries out to His father, “My God, My God why have thou forsaken me?”  At these words I am catapulted backward into complete and utter darkness, and a chasm grows to an immeasurable depth between He and I.  I can hear nothing, see nothing except for Him.  I feel a tingling sensation as physical and emotional numbness overtake my whole being, and I thank the Lord for protecting me with this numbness.  My heart pounds with such fury that I am afraid it might explode through my chest, it is the only thing I can feel right now.

I stare at the cross, my son strung upon it, the life disappearing from Him, but I cannot pull myself away.  I am fixed to the ground where I stand, my feet hold strong like the roots of a thousand-year old olive tree, penetrating the earth securing me in place; I am immovable.  He lifts Himself, pulling up on His arms attempting to inhale enough air to utter a few last words.  There is a pause, a momentary lapse of all time, then tension, and a sudden release, and in that release the words “it is finished,” flow from His mouth.  His head bows down… and His life leaves His body.  He goes limp.

I realize at that moment that my son’s earthly life is over, and all my bodily sensations resume.  I feel a deep sense of sorrow, a vast gully forms in my gut, I am broken.  Each breath I take is laborious, and on exhale I feel as if the act of exhalation might never cease.  A sensation arises in the pit of my being, which I cannot explain, but if you have ever experienced tragic loss, you can feel it too.  I pray to my God, Yahweh,  the Father of my son, for clarity in understanding the purpose of all this, but I know, as I’ve known since the conception of my first-born, that God’s will, and my vision don’t always align, and I surrender to that. With gratitude, honor, and a thankful heart, I pray for having known the divinity of His earthly existence, my son’s glorious terrestrial self, and for blessing me with many moments in His presence. Praise… be… to His glory.

 

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.


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