Mary, the mother of Jesus, was also at the cross during Jesus’ crucifixion. No doubt as she stood there, she must have remembered the prophecy told to her by Simeon when they took Jesus to the temple to consecrate him. Simeon said to Mary, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel . . . and a sword will pierce your own soul, too” (Luke 2:34-35).

That sword was piercing her soul as she stood at that cross for hours, watching her son die in agony. She heard his cries from the cross; she heard the mocking voices of the soldiers who said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself” (Luke 23:37). She watched as Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

No doubt Mary was a widow at this point, without Joseph to care for her any longer; now she watched her eldest son die on a cross. Mary knew with absolute certainty that Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit—a virgin birth—and she knew that he was Messiah. Yet, she had to watch him crucified, wondering how a crucifixion could be part of God’s plan.

What kind of God dies on a cross? Jesus had declared himself to be equal with God his Father, and now here was God on a cross. What kind of God dies—and on a cross?

My friends, Jesus is the only qualified Savior because he did die on that cross to pay the penalty for our sins, a penalty we could never pay. God demands a perfect sacrifice, and only Jesus meets that qualification. As our substitute he died on that cross, while his dear mother watched in bewilderment and great personal sorrow.

But here’s the good news: He rose from the dead three days later! Because he conquered death, he can promise those who believe on him that they, too, can be assured of eternal life with him!

As you celebrate Easter, think of those women at the cross—especially Mary, the mother of Jesus—and praise God that you are celebrating an empty tomb!