I can’t imagine what it would have been like for Mary to watch Jesus, her son, endure the cross. She was a virgin when the angel came to her and told her she was pregnant and would name her baby Jesus. I think about the early gospel verses when she held her newborn baby and listened to the shepherds tell their miraculous story. Later, at the temple, Simeon and Anna would give her a prophetic word about Jesus. The angel had told her she was favored by God. I can’t imagine she felt “favored” at the foot of the cross – but she was. But what happened to Mary after Easter?
Jesus looked down from the cross and, even in his agony, made sure that his mom would be taken care of. He looked at his beloved disciple, John and said, “Here is your mother” (John 19:27). Scripture says, “From that time on, the disciple took her into his home.” The next time we hear about Mary is in the first chapter of Acts. The apostles had just witnessed the ascension of Christ and returned to Jerusalem. They went to the upper room where Scripture says they “joined constantly together in prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers (Acts 1:14). Who were his brothers?
Denomination could affect your answer. The Catholic church believes that Mary was a virgin for all of her life, therefore these brothers would actually be cousins. Most protestants would say that his brothers are defined in Matthew 13:55. Jesus had just finished teaching in his hometown and when he finished the people asked, “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers, James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?” Did you know that Jesus’ brothers were in the upper room after the crucifixion? I like to think about the fact that Mary was surrounded and supported by the people who loved her and those who had loved Jesus as well. But this is the last Scripture we have regarding Mary, specifically.
If Mary stayed in that upper room with John and the others, she would have been there on the Day of Pentecost. She would have received the Holy Spirit, the very presence of her Son, that day to dwell with her forever. What was it like for Mary to have her son with her again, permanently? The only word I can think of for a moment like that is joy. Joy because she knew Jesus was alive. Joy because Jesus would be with her for the rest of her earthly life. Joy because she would see him again, glorified in heaven. And joy because she had been highly favored by God.
Tradition states that Mary lived with John near Ephesus until her death. Each day tour groups visit the home where it is believed she and John lived. It makes me happy to think of her living in that beautiful place, now part of modern day Turkey. Mary had served God as no one else ever had or ever will again. She had been a mother to the Messiah of the world.
I think Mary celebrated Easter every day, for the rest of her life. Her Son wasn’t dead – he was risen! Mary sets a great example for the rest of us. The chocolate bunnies and eggs are half-price in the grocery stores. The pastel dresses will be hanging on the sale racks at department stores. Churches are cleaning up, resting up and wondering why they can’t have Easter crowds every Sunday. Why do we think Easter has a beginning and an end?
Easter is every day for a Christian. Easter is the reason you can have joy today, even if you are grieving the fact that someone you love has died. Easter is the reason you have Jesus with you every moment of every day, if you are a Christian. Easter joy is today’s joy – and tomorrow’s. Take a moment and praise God for the joy of Easter – and walk in that joy from here forward.
Happy Easter – again!!!