Hmmm. I can’t tell you the many times I’ve been asked to tell my story of His birth and early childhood, but it is a rare occurrence—I can count the times on one hand—that I’ve been asked about His death and resssurection.
Perhaps because it’s not very polite to ask someone about their own Child’s death and ressurrection. Perhaps not. But when your child is the Son of the Most High God, when your Child, is the MeSHIA, it is as not a difficult conversation as one might think. Yeshua, or Jesus, as you all know Him, was of course a strange One to have as a Son. He was not typical at all. Even now, it feels so strange to talk about Him. There were so many events in such short a time.
It’s a strange thought for a mother, to have her Child’s death celebrated—I know, it is in conjunction with His resurrection, but still. It feels so strange. Holy, but strange—I suppose that truly sums up my own personal experience with Him. Holy and strange.
That week was one of the most Holy and most strange and most painful things I have ever experienced. First, to know that one of His own disciples betrayed Him, but then I always had my suspicions, a mother always does, you know. Then, not to be able to be present there for His arrest and for parts of His trial? But I get ahead of myself.
I was laying there on my bed when I was awoken by Huldah, a young follower of His way who had come to stay with me. Her family had thrown her out for being a believer in My Son. There was a sharp and loud banging at the door. It was fisherman, I could tell by their boisterous knock and utter disregard for the early hour. I was not a young woman anymore. Now by your standards I was still young. I was nearly fifty when this story occured. Anyway, we went to the door together and it was James’and John’s—you know them?—well, it was their younger brother Josiah. He was breathless and told me that John had sent him to tell me that….
Suddenly he stopped. The look on his little face told me all needed to know. I had seen that look before when they had come to tell me that Joseph, my dear One, had been killed in that terrible cattle accident. Somehow a woman just knows.
I grabbed his thin arm and dragged him inside.
“What,… What did John want you to tell me?” I stared into his eyes desperate to know it wasn’t true, not yet. He was still so young.
“He’s, He’s been arrested.”
Waves of fear and pain washed over me as a deep crushing cold rose up from within me. I had not understood my Son’s pessimistic look at His future until this moment. And then I understood.
I sat the young man down while Huldah and I wrapped ourselves up to go into the night with food and bandages and whatever else might be necessary for this moment in time.
“Tell me, where is He?”
The terrified boy looked into my eyes with desperation. I know he believed if anyone could convince my Jesus to do anything it was me. I wished he was correct, in that moment I wished more than I had ever wished before. But, somehow, I knew this was outside of my hands. It had been from the beginning.
“He’s at the house of the High Priest. You can’t, you can’t go…” he tried to explain the rules for women and outsiders to a woman who had been an outsider since she was 16.
I tilted his chin to my face and saw sheer terror.
“Do not be afraid, my son.”
In that moment I was lost in a memory of the first time I had heard those words.
“Fear not! Thou favored daughter…” At first I had thought I was seeing things. Me, having a vision? Never. Slowly it dawned on me that this was not only very real, but it was not a vision at all. It was really happening to me. Fear not. I know that you all may never understand the power of that phrase as it was spoken time and time again into my life.
Fear not. I can still hear the shepherds’ voices as they told me what the angel had told them. Do not be afraid. Every time God chose to reach down towards humanity, He told us not to be afraid. Fear not, to my cousin Elizabeths husband. Fear not He had said so man times in His teachings. Fear not.
And now, facing who knows what, His words and the echoes of the words of those who served Him above, I can almost here in that moment. In those early hours on that Friday, I heard those words almost clearer than I had ever heard them before.
We hurried out the door as dawn was approaching. The next few hours were blurs. G vd. Blurs of John and Hulda ushering me from place to place, shielding me from the crowd and begging me to go home. But I wanted just one more glimpse of His face. I wanted to tell Him what He had told me those many times before: Fear Not.
To see your child beaten and treated as the lowest form of a criminal is unfathomable for any parent. But when you know They are also your people’s Messiah, when you know They are also God…. It felt like an impossiblity. Why would His Father allow this? 1000 questions flooded my mind, but only that one phrase echoed over and over:”Fear not.”
Golgotha is a terrible place. The stench of decomposing bodies was awful. The groans of dying men filled the air. I must confess, there was a part of me, most of me, that had hoped this was ll somehow a part of a plan to work some miracle to show just how powerful He was, is. With every new development I hoped, surely this was the moment when He would show His mighty power, when Dvinity would shine through. But there I stood at the foot of my Son’s cross. His followers were scattered. There were only 5 of us left: Myself, Dear sweet John, Mary formerly of Magdelene, Mary mother of James and Joseph, Salome, and my dear sister who had somehow appeared at my side after I had sent Huldah home because the place of the skull was no place for a young innocent woman.
A stood there, frozen. I could feel my sister one side and John on the other holding me up. I could hear there soft whispers begging me to go home: I didn’t need to see this, I needed rest, they said. But I stood, as if anchored there at my Son’s feet. I watched every agonizing breath. I could not leave Him. He was encrusted with blood. I had never seen Him that weak— even after His 40 day fast. If my tone has changed here in my story, you must forgive me. There is only one thing I remember clearly.
He looked at me. In all His pain and agony, He looked at me. He looked at me the same way He had as a child after scraping His knee or the time He had smashed His thumb working in carpentry with Joseph. He looked at me the same way he had when I had broken the news of Joseph’s death. He looked to me for comfort. He looked at me for connection, for hope, for strength for that something every woman has for her child. I mouthed the words, “Fear Not.”
Until that moment I had had the strength to stand there, but after that moment all of the realizations hit me at once.
My Son was dying. Suddenly I heard a voice, strained, weak, and simultaneously almost unrecognizable, but undeniably His.
“Ima,” (which John disagrees with. He thinks He said Isha, which means woman. But I heard Ima, like I had heard it 1000s of times before.) “Ima, here is your son.”
He looked at John, His only one of the 12 still left with Him here at the cross, and said “Here is your mother.”
It was after that I lose all memory as everything blurs into tears. It was at that moment I knew He was not coming down off of that cross. Everything He had ever said alluding to His death made sense and fell into place. This was it. He was dying. He would not rescue Himself. I heard Him cry out and then I saw the light fade from my own Son’s eyes. My precious One was gone. My memory fades here as Salome and my sister gently took me home.
But, I was not the only one to lose a Child.
But then I was not the only one to have them come back to me. He had done this for so many others, and now His true Father did it for me. I know, it was for all of us, but it was also for me. I have talked to so many other mothers who received their children back to them from death because of Him. It felt so poignant, then, for me to go though this experience as well.
We each have a phrase or could describe in one what My Son, His Son means to us. To me, the phrase “Do not be afraid.” Will echo in my mind for all my lifetime. All of the fears of sin and its terrible consequences. All of the fear of inadequacy, all of the fear of pain or of the future, all of it dissipates with Him.
My friends you do not have to fear. You do not have to live in fear of My Son nor the enemy that took Him, because you and I were a GOd who brought Him back. We serve a Father who sent His Son, my Son, to remove all fear forever. So little ones, why do you still tremble? He has told all of us together, to fear not.
So, my children, fear not.