In a little village, in a quiet town, in a small family, a little girl loves. She is sweet and kind. Formed and molded for a purpose and plan, the unbeknownst small child will be used for an extraordinary purpose. Compassionate as she is innocent, we find the little girl in a sorrowful state.
Salty tears streamed down her soft, red cheeks. Wrapped in her mother’s arms, she peeked a tear stained eye from beneath the comfort of protection. The gentle embrace seemed in stark contrast to the panorama view-taking place.
“Mary,” her mother’s voice whispered. Tender and soothing to her spirit, Mary looked up to loving eyes cast down.
“Mary, you have to watch.”
Innocence sank back down into the haven of love. Mary’s face, buried again in her mother’s waist, let out a final sob. She tried so hard to understand; she truly tried.
The warm cloth was difficult to pull away from, but Mary slowly turned her head towards the ongoing sacrifice for her family. The helpless lamb, the one she had held and played with, was now on display. The bright, crimson blood mixed with the pure white pelt. The lamb was as young and innocent as she, wholesome and harmless.
Her senses seemed peaked, as if everything resonated through her being: the sound of the lamb’s cry, the harsh mercury smell of blood mixed with the gentle breeze against her wet face amongst the blue sky, all seemed to mock her sadness. The pain in her heart was overwhelming at what the little lamb she had loved was used for. Her mother cradled her in arms of comfort, but her heart would forever be pierced from the cry of the little lamb.
As the young girl grew to a precious woman used for God’s glory, memories of the little lamb flooded through her being again. Every moment of the small ewe’s cry, her broken heart, and tear stained face flashed before her eyes. John was holding her up, his arms keeping her knees from buckling; just as her mother’s arms embraced her years ago. She understood now. It seemed a veil was lifted from her vision to reveal truth. The Passover lamb tore through her memory as pieces of a puzzle fit together.
Unable to breathe, she closed her eyes, willing herself to look at her Son. Hanging on the cross, her senses seemed peaked again. The smell of blood was now her Son’s. The cry of the Lamb was now her own flesh and blood. The innocence of her heart was torn into two, as she remembered what was foretold, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:34-35). Mary understood in that moment, love. “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
The fruit of God’s spirit is love. God is love, epitomizing love to His children, exuding a love brimming over and filling us from the inside out. The love God bestows on His children is not our idea of love. The world’s idea of love is fleeting, dramatic, obsessive, romantic, sexual, and pretentious. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 gives Christians an idea of what God’s love is, “Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the Truth [when right and Truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening]. Love never fails [it never fades nor ends].”
I have written the AMP version so a better understanding of God’s love can be meditated on. The MSG version is also interesting to study as is written, “Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always ‘me first,’ doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when other’s grovel, takes pleasures in the flowering of Truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Love never dies.”
Our Lord exemplified love when He, “..who, although existed in the form and unchanging essence of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped and asserted; but emptied Himself [without renouncing or diminishing His deity, but only temporarily given up the outward expression of divine equality and His rightful dignity] by assuming the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men [He became completely human but was without sin, being fully God and fully man]. After He was found in outward appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the Father to the point of death, even death on the cross. For this reason also, God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above all name, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess and openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:6-11). Christ truly is the Good Shepherd –“I am the Good Shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14). “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again” (John 10:17-18).
“I have told you this so my joy maybe in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:11-13). When we question what love is, we need look no further than Jesus Christ. He willingly gave His all because He loved mankind. God has given us amazing Scriptures and insight into His love, what that love looks like, and what that love brings daily.
His bright light gives an in-depth look into our hearts. “The Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it” (John 1:5). Scripture encourages us to dig deeper, love further, and search until we find truth. If your heart has not been opened to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, I would like to extend and opportunity to you, so you too may receive this gift of salvation and love. “The Word is near you; it is in your mouth and your heart, that is, the Word of faith we are proclaiming: that if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). So, it begins with a simple prayer, repeat this out loud, “I believe Jesus Christ is the Lord, the Son of the Living God. I believe He died on the cross for my sins. I believe I am a sinner in need of salvation, forgive me of my sins. Wash me clean, Lord; in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.”
Christ gave all He had on the cross for God’s precious hearts. Mary would see her own treasures spill forth from her heart as well. Each Easter, Tommy and I watch The Passion of the Christ. Maia Morgenstern, who portrayed Mary, does an amazing interpretation of Christ’s mother. The emotion you feel from her as she watches her son “despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Like one from when hides their faces, He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him and by His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:3-5) is overwhelming.
Her eyes painfully witness her son whipped; tears falling down her face as her own heart is pierced. The movie depicts Christ carrying His own cross. Falling from the exhaustion and weight of the world, all Mary sees is her flesh in need. Picturing Jesus as a tender, little boy and rescuing him from a fall, The Passion of the Christ pulls at our own hearts watching Mary instinctively run to the aide of her son. Succumbing to the sight of Jesus and He seeing His mother – her pain, her sorrow, her breaking heart, the anguish of a mother watching her child’s painful death – tenderly He tells her, “Mother, I make all things right.”
Mary’s testimony is an emotional railway. She recites her story to Luke who eloquently depicts a picture of a young woman whose heart was willing to serve the Lord. She was obedient and submissive to the Lord’s will although she knew nothing of what the future held. The youthful maiden joyfully raised Jesus of Nazareth through all stages of life. The memories she held of Him through birth to death must have traveled her mind continuously.
Mary the Mother of Jesus Christ suffered in love that day. I cannot imagine what she was feeling, except what any mother who was watching her child die must feel. God allowed Mary to stand at the cross for all to see – love suffered for you and I. But through the agony, love continued to shine from the cross when Christ told John to take care of Mary as his own mother. Although slowly dying, love shined on the cross for a woman whom God loved and was chosen for an amazing purpose. His love truly never fails.