In 2004 the movie of the year was ‘The Passion of the Christ’. Most of our friends and people in our circles saw it before we did – from people at church to people in the streets…comments were all over. The movie critics had good and bad things to say. It was the talk of the town at that time. Some people explained how they wept when they saw Jesus being beaten, some people fainted and some ran out of the cinema. I was not sure if I wanted to see it because, based on the reactions of the masses, I felt I could not handle it. I questioned myself, “Was I really that close to Jesus to be affected in that manner?” Could I just watch it as a movie and not take it personally or be traumatised to the point where it would affect my spiritual life?
Eventually, my husband, Noel, and I decided to go. By then the murmurs started to die down and we had heard all that could have possibly been said about the movie. I went in with an open mind. Jesus was just as I expected him to be, extremely handsome, wise, kind, giving, powerful and of course, a loving son. His character was well depicted. It gave such warmth to the movie and seeing him playing with his mother and being a typical boy (son) was very touching. That was impactful I thought – after all, I am a mother and I have a son.
However, as the movie went on the character that stood out most to me was Mary, Jesus’ mother. Yes, Jesus was the star character of the movie, but Mary was my favourite character. Over the years, many directors, producers and storytellers depicted Mary as just a supporting actress, but not Mel Gibson. She was real to me, and she was an amazing actress. The rest of the movie was excellent, but throughout the movie, my focus was on Mary; her joy of motherhood, her love for her son and then her pain – a mother’s pain. I shared this with a number of people and at times I felt like my take (on the movie) was misunderstood. Many asked me “How could you not feel Jesus’ pain? Look at what he went through for you.” It was not that I ignored Jesus or the important role he played in history but I actually empathised with Mary. I was tortured by the look in her eyes as she watched her son, her innocent child suffering; her only son. Little did I know I would in some way be like Mary one day. I actually felt her pain. I saw the pain in her eyes. I stopped breathing when she appeared to have stopped breathing. I would be Mary one day. I would be a mother watching her only son die – unable to do anything about it.
Jabez was born on August 2nd, 2001. He was a gorgeous baby boy – six pounds and eight ounces. He looked exactly like our daughter RaVen. The nine months of pregnancy were tough, though I can’t recall if it was any tougher than my first pregnancy with RaVen. It was also a time of extreme financial challenges. Due to my difficult delivery I was in a lot of pain afterwards. It was hard just turning from one side to the other, so attending to JB was challenging. Noel did an excellent job once again, taking care of our newborn.
In December of that year, when Jabez was just four months old, Noel was doing a production at Trinidad Christian Centre. It was the Christmas Story and they needed a baby Jesus. They used my son. Why my son? Because from birth Jabez was destined for greatness.
Jabez was the perfect little baby Jesus…all cuddly in his manger. He did not fuss or cry and everyone absolutely loved him.
The feature aired on Christmas Day and we called everyone we could think of to look at it. I screamed when I saw his name in the credits – Baby Jesus: Jabez Joseph. In retrospect, I was Mary, watching my little son ‘Jesus’ lying in a manger, not really knowing what was in store for him, what his life would be like, not knowing his destiny. My job was to ensure that he had love, food and shelter and that he walked on the path of righteousness. But like Mary all those years ago, I was later watching my son Jabez at three and a half-years-old walking down the path of death. His short life and untimely death was not in vain. Jabez taught us so many lessons; he was brave, selfless, compassionate and mature beyond his years. Thanks to him, we now have the opportunity to serve so many families. God gave us a son to teach us how to care for others who would come after him.
For Christians, Good Friday is significant because it celebrates what we believe to be the start of one of the most momentous weekends in the history of the world. It’s the day Jesus willingly suffered and died by crucifixion as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. The Apostle Paul considered it to be “of first importance” that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and was raised to life on the third day, all in accordance with what God had promised in the Scriptures.
Easter Sunday is marked by the celebration of the day Jesus was raised from the dead, heralding his victory over sin and death and bringing HOPE to the world, pointing ahead to a future resurrection for all who are united to him by faith.
We hope that you had a glorious Easter celebration with family and friends and that you used the extra time to enjoy each other, living and laughing together. May this blessed occasion bring you faith, hope, love and joy.
Submitted by: Chevaughn Joseph
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