August 23, 2008

Her Loss Was Her Gain

John 19:23-27

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother …
John 19:25


As Jesus hung on the cross, dying in terrible agony, his mother Mary's pain of heart and soul must have been torturous too (see Luke 2:35). Her joy had been splayed with each strike of the whip ripping her son's back. Her love was pierced along with Jesus' flesh as the spikes drove through sinew and muscle. Her heart was fractured with each heaving breath of her dying son. Perhaps memories flooded her mind as her love bled for her tortured child?the angel promise, the wonder of the shepherds, the delight of the wise men, the joy at Jesus' love for the Word of God, people's amazement at Jesus' miracles and teaching. But those memories hung impaled on a Roman tool of torture: a cross. Mary didn't know yet that her son's season of weakness leading to death was also leading to victory over the world's most powerful forces of evil: Satan, sin, and death. Mary didn't know that she would soon again see the face of her dear son?not the gray face of a cadaver but the radiant features of her resurrected Lord. As Jesus breathed his last breath that Friday afternoon, Mary felt her loss. But her loss was her gain. He died for her sins, and for the sins of all who believe in him. The greatest victory came through the worst trial.

Thank you, Jesus, for your amazing love. “How can it be that you, my Lord, should die for me?” In your weakness you died for us, gaining the victory of life. Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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