If you were God, would you have done things the way He did? If you’re the divine-made-human (i.e. Jesus) on a mission to become human, die for our sins, and save the world, would you have done it the way He did? If you’re anything like most people, probably not. He spent HOW long just living at home? (30 years, or ~90% of his life) But, He’s God so clearly knows what He’s doing. Let’s unpack it.
If I had an important task to do, I’d probably get on with it right away. Die for the sins of the world? Let’s do this. Okay, maybe it’s a good idea to build up some followers first, then do it. But staying in the same small insignificant region of the world while doing it? Doesn’t seem to make sense. But again, He’s God, so He knows what’s up.
He could’ve hung out on Earth forever, post-resurrection. It’d be like getting a knock on your door, but instead of Mormon missionaries or Jehovah’s Witnesses, it’s Jesus Himself saying, “Hey, I died for you, come follow Me.” But He didn’t. He make a Church and gave it His authority and sent it out.
You get to know people by spending time with them
But that Church (and the early Apostles) wouldn’t’ve lasted very long with a weak faith. And so Jesus spent time with them. Lots of time. They got to know Him, not just facts about Him, but Him as a person. And so that’s why Jesus spent three years of His life with the same group of twelve (plus others who followed Him, but He spent more time with the Twelve).
Even before that, though, Jesus spent 30 years living at home. And if the way to get to know someone is to spend time with them, to share life, for you to “let in” and for them to let you in, then one person knew Jesus the best: Mary.
Spending time at home
Mary spent 10 times as much time with Jesus as the Twelve (even more if she was there during His public ministry). She was there when He scraped His knee, got sick, got excited about things, got rejected, and the like.
We know that the angel Gabriel didn’t tell her everything she would experience. But at several points in Jesus’ early life, the Gospels tell us that Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. She didn’t immediately know what God was doing, but knew that God was doing it. So, she stayed attentive to it, pondering it in her heart.
I think this might be why Mary didn’t waver at the foot of the Cross. Sure, she didn’t expect the Messiah to die, no one did. But she knew her Son in such a deeply personal and intimate way. She’d been pondering these things in her heart for years, decades. And so she trusted Him.
I’d go as far as say that the human being who knows Jesus the best is Mary. She spent the most time with Him. She stayed by His side even when nearly everyone else left. And now that she’s united to Him in heaven, she’s even closer.
Yes, the Twelves knew Him well. Yes, we each can know him deeply and intimately, and He desires that for us. But she knows Him better. Her earthly life involved bringing people to Him, and so her heavenly life is also, and in a greater way.
On a slight (but related) tangent, I’ve known men who, after they get engaged, ask their fiancees’ fathers about their bride-to-be: “you know her better than I do, how can I love her more?” They recognize a parents’ heart and desire to learn more for how to love better.
I think in a slightly similar way, we can ask Mary for how to love her Son better. He calls us to a marriage with Himself, and His mother knows His Heart. We can ask her to bring us even closer to her Son and love Him even more.
P.S. Be a hero today.