For the last week or so, my mind has been shifted toward the pinnacle of Christianity – the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The account in Luke is one of the most detailed and insightful, while the account of the prayer the Lord made in the Garden of Gethsemane is revelatory. My attention particularly centered around the Garden of Gethsemane moment (John 17), His arrest, the scattering of the disciples, and even the ‘trial’ and ultimate choosing of Jesus to be crucified (Luke 22-24). Each of these items holds a wealth of revelation about us as people, both individually and collectively. It shows the bent of human frailty: bad decision making, cowardice, betrayal, viciousness, bullying, abuse, conspiring, greed, blood lust, humiliation – human traits and influences at their worst. Looks a lot like the modern day world, doesn’t it?
As I sat thinking about Kid 5 and a dream I had about him I didn’t want to wake up from, I found myself thinking about Jesus’ parents. His earthly one, and God. It’s a complex situation to say the very least. I mean, God was Jesus’ baby daddy if you wanna be technical about it. Joseph took on the task of raising the Son of the Living God. How can one measure up to that? Jesus being who He was, perfect in every way, I am sure He never said ‘you’re not my dad!’ Nor did He say, ‘I’m telling my daddy on you!’ Did Joseph and God have a skype chat every once in awhile to catch up on the child rearing process like some blended families do? It’s gotta be weird to worship the father of your adopted child.
I often think about the weight Jesus must have carried as a child. I can understand what it’s like to be a child who understands certain things by a certain child…yes, you maintain innocence, but …it’s not very child like. The lane you ride in isn’t exactly a carefree lane when wisdom is in play. That’s not to say you never have fun, but how much fun can you have when death (your entire purpose for being) is constantly in the back of your mind? That so much is riding on YOU? Could you do it? I don’t know if I could.
Back to the parents…
I was thinking about Mary today when I thought of the crucifixion. With the dream about my son fresh in my mind, and knowing some of the challenges in life he will face, it made me…well…beside myself. I wondered what Mary was thinking and feeling when she knew her son had been taken away, and she knew His hour had come…that He could save Himself, and she wanted Him to. That His friends LEFT him alone with people who meant him absolutely no good. Did she want to choke Judas out? This person she had probably cooked for? Treated as a son?
Could she really grasp eternity in contrast with motherhood? That’s a lot to ask. I used to think Mary, the mother of Jesus had it easy. Now I know she had to be stronger than anyone I can think of to endure watching her son be tortured and murdered. I wonder if she asked God to spare Him, and to find another way to save us…why couldn’t He (God) find another way??? I cannot imagine the pain she felt when her son, her baby, was unrecognizable from the hands of abuse by others, the hatred from people for no reason at all, knowing He had done NO wrong. If the salvation story had played out in post-Millennial society, I would have gladly helped Mary plan an assassination attempt on anyone involved. How embarrassing for our Lord have to die naked, having his clothing gambled away. Jeered and spit upon by people He loved dearly enough to die the most horrific manner. And His mom watched. And He knew it. And He had to make provision for her. The fact that He did this while hanging in agony is beyond me. He loved his mom so much, He made sure that in His own hour of suffering, she would be cared for.
Another thing I began to think of as I went down this path was…where was Joseph? I think I may have missed where he was, but for some reason, I thought he wasn’t there. Had he been spared watching or was he not mentioned or was he deceased?
The crucifixion did not only affect us, generations later. It effected his family. While His earthly family was not torn apart by it, I wonder if they shifted blame, doubted His words. I wonder who was the son or brother who had to go home with Mary and watch her, devastated. I wonder what the conversations were after His death. How long did she cry before she wore out from exhaustion? Was she just numb? Did she have words?
This parenting thing ain’t easy. Letting them go is so difficult, especially when you want to protect and shield them from everything. We are responsible to nurture and develop their talents, skills and abilities. We have to help them adapt to the disappointments of this world, and to show them the love of Christ, even when it isn’t easy. We have to teach them their importance so they will take it seriously, and will want to do so. What I learned through some prayer and revelation of the Holy Spirit, the plans and purposes of the Lord will prevail, even for those wayward children. It is not guaranteed we will understand or even agree with what God has prepared for them, should they choose to obey His voice. All that is guaranteed is that the Lord will continue His covenant to future generations that love Him, all we have to do is plant and nurture the seed.