1998-06-11 - Behold Thy Mother
The Cross Series, Part 43
John 19:25-27 Therefore the soldiers did these things. But there were standing by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" 27 Then He said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her into his own household.
Jesus' physical life is ebbing away. He knows His physical death, and His freedom are very near. There are a precious few matters that must be taken care of before the Savior completes His mission. John and several of the women who followed Jesus are with the Lord at the foot of His cross as He suffers. Many scholars agree that Jesus' earthly father, Joseph, must have passed away prior to this or he would be here as well; if for no one else than his beloved Mary in her hour of trial. I am sure that he would have done what he could to help his step-Son as well.
Mary is a widow and is about to lose her eldest Son. This is the sword that Simeon prophesied that would pierce Mary's heart (Luke 2:35). Jesus' step-siblings have not yet come around to seeing things as their mother does with regard to Jesus. Jesus does a very loving thing for Mary at this point in assigning her to John's care. John's presence at the cross is no accident. Jesus has again orchestrated every detail. John has been a member of the inner circle of disciples and is arguably Jesus' closes friend. John is the mystic of the group, he looks for truth with a vengeance. John's gospel sees Jesus the King. John was one of the followers of Jesus' cousin John the Baptist before John sent him on to follow his beloved Master. John is a seeker.
John will be one of the leaders in the new church that Jesus is about to launch. From his position of leadership he will be able to see that Mary is cared for until she leaves this life. John will also be the last of the disciples to leave this earthly life outliving Mary by a wide margin. Mary will also be spared the rebuke of her other children she would face if she were forced to return to them at this time.
John's mother may have been at the cross too. This was in no way an act that would displace her from her rightful position. Jesus was simply making sure that His mother was cared for. John's mother and Mary would have many opportunities to talk and compare notes on their respective sons. One of the joys of parenthood is sharing these stories with close friends.
John would be blessed as well. The honor of being asked by Jesus to care for Mary would have been the first portion of blessing. But the blessings would go far deeper than that. Imagine evenings John spent with Mary listening to her mother's heart tell stories of the visitation of angel Gabriel that foretold of Jesus' birth. She would tell John of her joy at Joseph's proposal, her heartbreak at his decision to put her away, and then after his own visitation coming and whisking her away as his wife. Mary would share the story of her meeting with Elizabeth and the magnificat that sprung from Elizabeth's heart. The story of Jesus' birth, the star, the comforting and assuring visits by the shepherds and the wise men from the east would be fare for another evening. John's mind may have spun as Mary told of Simeon and Anna meeting the parents with Jesus at His circumcision. Imagine the mother's pride as she would tell the story of the wedding at Cana where Jesus answered her request to help the family by turning the huge jugs of water into excellent wine for the celebration.
I can imagine there were many such evenings spent talking about many more things back and forth. I look forward to hearing some of these stories someday. John surely had stories to tell Mary too. The calming of the storm of the Sea of Galilee for instance. We will all have stories to tell each other - heartbreak and joy that we have known. All things Jesus has prepared for us, just has He prepared this moment for John. They will be treasures in that day.
Jesus - Thank you for all the things You lead us through and help us to learn from them the things that You have for us. These will be pearls of great price to us - gifts to share with others in this life and the next. They are given to strengthen our faith and to give away to strengthen others too. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.