A WIDOW RECEIVES A SUBSTITUTE

Mary’s mind was racing. The crowd was making forward progress difficult. She stayed with the group of women who had followed Jesus and supported Him and His men as best they could.

She remembered Gabriel’s message to her as a betrothed teenager. She found herself pregnant without the pleasure of sex.

The sound of a cracking whip brought her back to the present. The Roman soldier demanded the condemned keep moving. Her heart ached for her son. If she hadn’t looked into His eyes she wouldn’t have recognized Him as a man. The bruising and blood covered every part of Him. Why? He’d done nothing wrong.

She recalled the time Joseph led her back to Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve. They found Him leading a deep discussion with the religious leaders of that day. Their amazement showed on their faces.

The crowd pressed in, nearly knocking her down. Jesus collapsed under the weight of the crossbeam He carried.

She reached for Him. “JESUS!!” Everything went black.

Her head was resting on Mary Magdalene’s foot when her eyes opened.

When the women picked her up Mary saw another man carrying Jesus’ cross.

Jesus looked at their group. “Don’t cry for me, daughters of Jerusalem. Weep for yourselves and your children. There will soon be a saying: ‘blessed is the barren woman who had no children.’ Then they will say to the mountains: ‘fall on us.’ For, if they do these things while I’m here what will they do once I’m gone?”

As the progression continued Mary relived the day Joseph died and how Jesus stepped up to fill that void. She was at such a loss when Jesus left to begin His ministry she led her other sons to try to talk Him into coming home. It was then she remembered this was NOT her son, but, God’s Son.

Each part of the crucifixion tore into her heart. Every nail, the dropping of the cross into the hole, each agonizing breath Jesus took ripped into her very being.

Yet, Jesus was still full of grace and forgiveness. Suddenly, He looked directly into her eyes. “Woman, behold your son.”

She followed Jesus’ glance to her right. For the first time she saw John. “Man, behold your mother.”

A resurgence of hope filled her when John put an arm across her shoulders.

A few minutes later Jesus uttered His last word. “Tetelesti.” (It is finished)

When Jesus’ body went limp Mary buried her head in John’s shoulder and let the tears flow. John’s grief resulted in a firm hug and sobs.

The sound of a loud crack brought her attention back to the crosses. The third man’s legs were then struck by a Roman soldier to hasten his death.

Mary didn’t want to see the same thing happen to her son, but, she couldn’t look away. A soldier thrust his spear into Jesus’ side. Blood and water spilled out.

Mary’s knees buckled. If John hadn’t been holding her she would have hit the ground. She closed her eyes and saw Simeon’s eyes look at her while he held the infant Jesus in the temple.

Simeon’s eyebrows twitched down. “A sword will pierce your soul.”

How did he know?

###

Take some time to let that scene sink in. Feel free to re-read it.

The crucifixion of Jesus isn’t something that should be reserved only for Easter. It’s good for a periodic look at it any time of the year. There are so many lessons in it that it’s hard to pull out just one truth to concentrate on. But, that’s my goal here.

It was the custom of the day that the eldest son in a family care for the mother after her husband died. Have you ever wondered why Jesus handed his earthly mother, Mary, off to His disciple, John, at the cross? Mary had other sons by Joseph, why weren’t they good enough?

The Apostle Paul answered this question in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. He talks about believers being yoked with unbelievers. The mis-match will only lead to misery.

Since most of us live urban lives I need to explain what Paul is talking about. The concept of yoking comes from a farming application. Whenever a farmer needed to pull a plow, or wagon, or anything else that required more than one animal to move something, he would choose two animals that matched.

If you want an extreme illustration imagine a Clydesdale horse being set alongside a donkey. Now, picture what’s going to happen when they pull a plow. Yeah, the Clydesdale will do all the pulling. He’ll likely pull the little donkey, too.

That’s what Jesus was trying to avoid. He knew Mary and John shared a kind of relationship with Him that no other people did. If Jesus’ half-brothers were given charge of Mary she would possibly lose some of her hope and passion. That wouldn’t happen with John. His passion for the Messiah ran deep.

We can only imagine some of the conversations they shared in the days and years ahead. By the time Luke interviewed them while putting his gospel account together their stories would be so familiar they’d roll off their tongues.

It’s not that Mary’s other sons never believed who Jesus was. It’s generally agreed that the book of James in the New Testament was written by Jesus’ eldest half-brother. But, James’ relationship had some catching up to do to match Mary’s.

This concept of equal yoking is usually reserved for the marriage bond. But, while that’s vital, it’s also important in any dealings within one’s life. A partnership in a business needs this same scrutiny. Close friendships are also capable of leading a Christian astray if handled improperly.

If you’re in a point of your life where you’re looking to spend a lot of time and energy with someone else, remember Jesus’ request of John and the importance of staying equally yoked.

It’s better to walk away now, than to live with unnecessary consequences.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

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About Wade Webster

I'm a full-time truck driver who's been called to write. As I grow in my writing I pray you grow in your walk with Christ. My life verse is John 3:30: (it's where John the Baptist is talking to his disciples about Jesus) "Jesus must increase, I must decrease." I hope that comes through in my writing. Look for a new post every weekend. Feel free to offer suggestions for topics you would like to see me cover. For a taste of my lighter side visit my humor blog http://www.laughoutloudloveourlord.com
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