Day 3 – Mary, wife of Cleopas
Here is the third instalment in my story called 52 Days, which tells of the 52 days after Jesus' death, from the disciples' perspective.
The first is - Day 1 - Mary Magdalene
The second is - Day 2 - Peter
If you haven't read the first two stories, I would encourage you to read them before continuing on.
In order to make this the best I can, I really would appreciate your thoughts, good and bad.
Day 3 – 16 Nisan, First Day (Saturday Night) – Matza Day 2 – Celebration of Firstfruits
Mary, wife of Cleopas, mother of Apostles Matthew, Jude and James the Younger, Aunt of Jesus
The responsibility had become hers. Normally this duty would fall on the mother, but that was no longer possible.
Fortunately, others felt the need to share the task. The death of a relative was always difficult but this man was more than a relative... far more.
With sunset ending the Sabbath, Magdalene and Salome accompanied her on the journey to the markets to purchase spices for Jesus' body. Her few coins would barely buy a twentieth of the seventy-five pounds of perfumed ointment, Joseph of Arimathea used to cover Jesus' body. Regardless, she needed to ensure the family would also contribute in this way.
Just over twenty-four hours earlier, kept in place by armed soldiers and equally distraught friends, she watched Jesus die. Grief still came to her in crashing waves separated by numbness. Initially each wave threatened to drown her, with the gaps barely enough to gasp for breath. Now, with a task and others to focus on, the gaps seemed slightly longer.
She remembered the few words he offered before death claimed him. But none touched her heart more than his words to his mother and John.
"Woman, there is your son," he said, tilting his head toward John, as his body shuddered through another slow painful breath. "John, there is your mother."
Despite the pain, he was ensuring his mother would be cared for. As John wrapped his arm around the shoulders of his new mother, Mary saw how honoured he was to accept the responsibility. For a moment she saw through the mask of pain Jesus constantly wore in those last hours, recognising the level of love he had for John.
Tears flowed freely from the knowledge her sister would have security beyond this tragedy. For more than thirty years they had been sisters by marriage, but sisters none the less, their bond becoming as close as if they shared blood.
With flushed cheeks cooled by the last of the early evening breeze, Salome had shared about the joy she and her husband Zebedee had, from the honour of taking Jesus' mother into their family, as a second mother for their son John.
"Before the Sabbath began," she added, "John took her to his home and we were happy to include her in our Sabbath meal."
Mary knew she meant their home in Bethany, a town to the east of Jerusalem, separated from the Holy City by the narrow Kedron Valley. It was where many from Galilee either lived permanently, or had homes they used when traveling to the Jerusalem. Bethany was often called Galilee, by those staying in the area.
Recalling the words just spoken, Mary remembered Salome's approach to Jesus, when she had requested her sons John and James be sat on Jesus' left and right in Heaven, and wondered if she saw this as a step in achieving that goal. Realising this was neither the time nor place for that conversation Mary let the thought pass.
Her thoughts moved to the men, who would not be joining them on this 'job for women'. She had not stopped worrying about many of them, including her husband Cleopas and her sons.
The previous day her three sons, remained at a distance, with the majority of The Twelve and many others. Only two were not in that group, John who stood with the women and Judas Iscariot, who killed himself.
I hope it was out of guilt for his treacherous act, she recalled thinking, when told the news.
Talking with the women with her she realised they shared similar concerns, as they moved through the darkening Jerusalem streets.
Magdalene mentioned her worry for Peter, who seemed to be far more upset than the death of their Lord alone should cause. She wished she could personally speak with him about it, but she was neither his mother nor wife.
Previously, on her request, her son James, called 'the younger' by most to avoid confusion with the brother of John, approached Peter about his distance and deep sadness.
His reply brought neither comfort nor answers.
"It's a burden I must carry alone, to my death," Peter had stated.
Soon they had arrived at the market. Despite her objections, both Magdalene and Salome added to her small amount. Together they bought much more than she had hoped.
Again Magdalene was showing her love for Jesus. She remembered first seeing the mess this young woman had been, when seven demons inhabited her. The moment Jesus commanded the devil's workers to leave, the change was instant, like a weight of anger and hatred lifted from her and innocent beauty hurried to fill the void. Since that day she had clung to Jesus, as if her life depended on him. Mary knew how she felt.
As the trio made their way back along the dark dirt roads, a chill ran the length of her spine. She wondered how the small group of disciples would cope in a Jerusalem, which now felt foreign and unwelcoming without their teacher and Lord.
For the moment she had herbs to prepare, the day would get harder after the sun rose.
© Rod Loader 2017