A mother's love - can you put a price on it?
How terrible it must be to lose a son or daughter. None of us who haven't had to bury our offspring can begin to imagine the anguish. Bad enough for a father, but how much worse for the mother who has given birth to the child?
There are a number of occasions in the Bible when a mother has had to watch her child suffer and die.
Arriving in the town of Nain, Jesus came upon the funeral procession of a man who was the only son of a widow. Jesus' heart was filled with pity and he told her not to cry. Not the usual thing that one would say to someone who was grieving. But wait...
Touching the coffin he told the young man to get up. And he did! No doubt that wake turned into a huge celebration.
We aren’t told that Jesus knew the family or that the widow even spoke to him, but he saw the need and met it. Perhaps he was thinking of his own widowed mother and the mourning that she would soon be doing for his death?
A father asks for help
Jairus was an official in the local synagogue so it might have been no easy matter for him to ask Jesus for help when his only daughter, just 12 years old, was dying. Did he and his wife discuss how he might be perceived in the local community if he went to Jesus, how it would affect his position in the synagogue? Or was it an easy decision when the life of their daughter was at stake?
Having got Jesus to agree to come to his house, we can imagine Jairus being impatient and beside himself at the delay when Jesus stopped after he realised that the woman with the haemorrhage had been healed. And how must he have felt when a messenger arrived to say that his daughter had died?
A mother waits....
But what about the girl's mother at home, watching her daughter deteriorate, then die and having to send a messenger with the sad news to her husband? Heartbroken doesn’t even begin to describe it. And then her husband arrives with Jesus; had he not received the message, why had he brought this man back with him?
No wonder the friends and neighbours laughed when Jesus said that she was only sleeping. Was he mad? But when he took the girl's hand and told her to get up, and she did, well no mother ever felt as happy as her at that moment. Her heart was fit to burst with the joy.
What about Jesus' mother?
Once Jesus' mother and his brothers arrived and stood outside the house where he was, asking to speak to him? How must Mary have felt when Jesus answered, “Who is my mother?” Was she hurt when he said that his mother and brothers are those who hear the word of God and obey it? Or did she understand what he meant and didn't regard it as a slight? Perhaps she was used to his priority that he had to be about his Father's business.
We can't begin to know how Mary felt when she saw her son after he was cruelly beaten by the Roman soldiers. Or as she watched him struggle to carry his cross, knowing what was coming next. What mother wouldn’t have been heartbroken as she heard them hammer in the nails and pin him to the cross? As the soldier thrust the spear in Jesus' side, it must have felt as if it pierced her own heart.
And still she had to listen as people jeered and mocked him, some of the same people who had been welcoming him a few days before. Her grief must have been almost unbearable.
Even in his last, painful hours his concern was for his mother. He told Mary that from then on, John was her son and said to John, “She is your mother.” And John took Mary home to live with him.
Did Jesus meet His mother after His resurrection?
It would be understandable if there was an especially close bond between Mary and Jesus, as he was her first-born and because of the unique circumstances of his birth. Which makes it all the more strange that after Jesus was raised from the dead, there is no mention in the Gospels that he met his mother. Now she could have been in the room when he appeared to the disciples, but you would have thought that this would have been recorded. Even so I like to think that he met her and had a special word for her.
It seems appropriate that, having gone to the trouble of making sure that she was provided for after his death by becoming part of John's family, he would have wanted her to share in the glorious news of his resurrection. To experience the same joy as those other mothers whose sons he brought back to life.
So what price a mother's love...or a father's?
No, you can never put a price on a mother's love. But we do know what it cost our Father.