“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother……” (John 19:25)

The hands and feet of an infant are a marvel to behold! Mary had surely held her baby Jesus, stroking His plump little hands and feet. At the cross, she had seen them pierced mercilessly by huge spikes.  She could have hidden her face, turned and walked away from that awful sight, but she didn’t. What kept her there?

She stood and watched with unimaginable anguish when a soldier laughed and then pierced her son’s side with a spear. She had tickled Him there as a small boy with her fingers, making Him giggle and laugh out loud until he hiccupped again and again. How could she watch such a thing happen to her son? What kept her there? 

Through her tears, she looked up at the awful crown of thorns that had been pressed deeply into His head. The blood ran down His face like dark red tears of agony, but she didn’t turn and leave. What kept her there? 

As her child and in her care, she had attended His every need. She had fed and clothed Him, and kept Him safe from all harm. But now, as He cried out, “I thirst,” she could not even give Him as much as a cup of water. She must have felt so helpless. How could she stay any longer? What kept her there? 

Could it have been hope that kept her there? She knew who He really was and had seen on many occasions what He was capable of doing. Was she hoping that He would lay aside his humanity, take on his true nature and descend from the cross in victory? I suppose it could have been hope that kept her there. 

But surely, we all know that it was something much more compelling than hope.  Standing helplessly by while she watched his life fading away, surely it was “a mother’s love” that kept her there. 

It is a mother’s love that instinctively awakens her in the middle of the night to discover that her child has a fever. It is a mother’s love that senses her teenage child is involved in something self-destructive and dangerous. It’s that same love that empowers her to sit in her child’s hospital room and pray relentlessly for healing. It is that mother’s love that prompts her to pray endlessly that her prodigal will return. It is a mother’s love that is waiting with open arms when her child finally comes home.

Mary was a great woman … primarily because she was a great mother. She both loved her son and she loved her Savior … who just happened to be the same person. That is what great mothers do; love their children and love their Savior. It was a mother’s love that kept her there.