Editor's note: This article was originally published on Crosswalk.com. It has been republished here with permission.
"Mom, did Jesus feel pain?"
I could see my son deep in thought, trying to process it all in his young mind, how anyone could, or would, endure such hurt - such intense suffering - on our behalf.
"I mean I know He died for us, on the cross, but did God protect Him from feeling the pain?"
His question was one that many of us have probably wondered ourselves.
I wanted to say yes. I wanted to speak with comforting words, "Of course, God shielded Him so it wouldn't have to hurt so ... very ... much."
But I couldn't.
I know the truth.
Doesn't every parent long to protect their child? Couldn't God have taken the pain away? Couldn't there have been another way? If Jesus was God, didn't He possess some superhero type of strength - fortified to withstand any hurt?
All God. Yet, all man. Such huge love. That He was willing to endure it all. For us.
We walked the reflective pathways from room to room, our church had set up reminders of the journey towards the cross. From the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Matt. 26:39. All along the difficult path that he was willing to endure, the betrayal of Judas, taunts and ridicule of the crowd, the crown of thorns, to the picture of the cross where He gave His life, so that we might live.
My son's small hands held the nails. My heart immediately went to Mary. A mom. I shared that in common with her. Mom to a son. We shared that in common too. Human. Yes, another thing that bonded our hearts - the frail humanity of life.
Mary - this mom destined to raise the very Son of God in our earthly world with one single purpose. To die. To take our place on the cross. To be our sacrifice that we might live. To save us, who cannot save ourselves.
She had watched her son build, they were a carpenter home, he had held many nails in life, hammered them deep into the wood. Did she know early on? Did she know one such nail would pierce his hand?
I wondered if she wanted to hide him away. Pretend that this deep awareness of Jesus' purpose on earth was all some wild, made-up story. Surely he was just her son. Surely he would outlive her. Could he not have great purpose on this earth, and yet still live? Did he have to die? Did he have to suffer in such a cruel way? Did she really have to let him go?
God's Word tells us from early in Jesus' life, "But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart." Luke 2:19. Every miracle. Every reminder. Every glimpse into the very face of God's redemption story.
Eyes of grace.
She "treasured all these things" - she kept them safe, kept them constantly in her mind, she didn't forget them. She "pondered" them - she brought these things together in her heart. This word actually means "to converse, to throw together, to confer with one's self, bring together, or fight with one."
How did she carry such burden," I thought. "So great, so heavy a burden in life to know her son would die."
We gazed at the cross.
Big, wooden, heavy.
Our hands touched the beam.
It was hard to lift up.
"How did He carry this Mom? It's way too heavy." Thoughts whirled again in my mind, of a Savior, of a son, of a mother, watching her precious one struggle under the weight of the cross, under the intensity of it all.
"I don't think I could do it Mom," he whispered to me, "I don't think I could go through that pain." Tears welled up in my eyes. I understood his heart.
Mary raised a son, knowing he was destined for a greater purpose. Understanding that he would choose to take the weight of the world upon his very shoulders. I'm so thankful that she raised him. And so thankful that she let him go.
Her son died so that mine could live. Her son died so that you, and I, could live. Jesus was willing to die so that this whole world, as many as who believe in Him, could live. Free.
God sent His Only Son. God loved. God gave. There was no other way. But this.
May we take a closer look into the reality of it all. The suffering of the cross. The huge sacrifice that was paid. The pain that was endured. The great cost of His gift. The love that was shown. The freedom it offers. For you. And me.
It's not a flowery picture of fluff and stuff.
But it is the most powerful story ever told.
Picture of sacrifice.
Picture of grace.
Picture of love.