Have you ever thought about who the women were that stood near the cross when Jesus was crucified? In my mind’s eye I see them as they watched….helplessly. It wasn’t a pretty sight…and I find A Mother’s Story……
It was mid-day, though dark as night…and damp. Shadows clung to the stone walls and uneven streets of the city. Everywhere there was an eerie silence. Out of the shadows stepped a small woman with a cloak draped across her shoulders. Quickly she scurried through the stillness, seeking for truth. Hours before these same silent streets were filled with throngs of people clamoring over the excitement of the trial. The mob screamed for the release of Barabbas and cried for Pilate to crucify the one called Jesus of Nazareth, “King of the Jews.” Some blamed the turn of events on the politics of the day. The political climate seemed to dictate that something drastic happen to arouse public opinion and turn attention away from the real issues confronting the government. If this so called ‘Christ’ was indeed who he claimed to be, he was dangerous to the over-all political plan.
Suddenly, she came to the palace of the high priest, Caiaphas. This was the same place where the chief priests, scribes and the elders of the people had assembled just a few short hours before. Quietly she slipped through the side door, whispered to the guard on duty and was led down the corridor to a small room. A single candle burned on the table. As the light flickered, Caiaphas approached through the open door. The figure seated at the table dropped the cloak revealing the frail looking woman who appeared to be in her mid-forties with graying hair. Softly she made inquiry about her son. Rumors had spread quickly through the city and she must know the truth. Caiaphas threw back his head and laughed uproariously as she spoke. Yes, indeed he knew her son. A fine young man; strong of body, but possessing a weak spirit and easily swayed by public opinion. However, with a few years of training she would have good reason to be proud of him. The priest was stricken with disbelief as she once again spoke of her son. He rose, pulled a pouch from his robe and placed it in her hands. Turning to leave, the mother of Judas Iscariot flung the pouch at Caiaphas sending the thirty pieces of silver clinking on the stone floor just as they had done hours earlier. Caiaphas moved toward her to offer comfort in the death of her son. Running quickly down the corridor and through the door, she found herself back on the quiet streets and continued on her way, not knowing where to go.
The weather’s chill gripped her whole being. If only her son hadn’t been so headstrong, so rebellious. His life could have been so different if he had only listened to Jesus. She had hoped that just being with his followers and seeing first-hand the miracles he performed would kindle in him a thirst for righteousness. Even though he was included in the inner circle, his attitude remained cynical and self-serving. And, it was his personal choice to betray the one who loved him so much.
As she made her way through the darkness she found herself staring in disbelief. There on Golgotha hung three men, each nailed to a cross. Carefully staying in the shadows, she moved closer. Standing there she saw John lead Mary, the mother of Jesus, quietly away. Close by stood Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James and Joses, along with the mother of Zebedee’s children. These women who followed Jesus from Galilee were now standing in the shadows with heavy hearts. She was filled with grief and despair.
Through the stillness, she lifted her eyes toward Jesus and heard as he spoke from the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” With tears streaming down her face she slipped away from the shadow of the cross and slowly made her way home to bury her son.