“woman, this is/behold your son; son, behold/this is your mother”
We meet three types of people at the cross in these verses:
- The loving mother and relatives
- The compassionate Christ
- The faithful and obedient friend
At the cross, we see Mary, Jesus’s mother, her sister (Jesus’s aunt), Mary, the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene.
COURAGE, LOVE AND COMPASSION of the women at the cross – the 3 other gospels place women at a distance from the cross, but John says in his writings, that the women stood by the cross. While the disciples and secret followers including Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were following from a distance, these devoted women were close by.
Imagine the anguish, the pain they felt, and the suffering that they witnessed. They loved Him so much that they could not abandon Him – there was nothing they could do, but they were there – their presence was just enough to show their love. Sometimes all a person in pain needs is your presence and nothing more. Knowing that you care is enough and often worth more than you can imagine. The women showed their love by being there. They openly stood by Him, making their love for Him clear enough. They did not leave Him to die alone - they were there; they went with Him all the way to the cross.
- How far will you go with Christ? How openly will you declare your faith in Him?
- How often are you there for other people to console and comfort them?
Jesus did not call her “mother”, but rather, “woman.” … he was symbolically detaching Himself from her, and was perhaps ‘freeing’ her to be a mother to another. He knew the word ‘mother’ would cut her and remind her of what she was losing – a Son.
Jesus did not ASK Mary whether she would take John as her son, or John whether he would take Mary as His mother. He simply declared a new relationship between them. His life, death and resurrection publicly declared new relationships between all of us - in our familial relationships, in our spiritual relationship with Him, etc etc...
Parenthood and sonship or daughtership is a relay – biological parents start the process, and along the way, other people step in to play roles of father or mother.
- Have you been a mother, or parent to someone else who is not your biological child?
- Have you been a child (son/daughter) to a non-biological mother?
We see Jesus here as an excellent delegator. Knowing how aware Peter was, of Him as the Messiah, He said He would build the church upon Peter, the Rock. Peter's deep understanding of the Christ and of God's holiness in contrast to our unholiness made him the perfect messenger for the message of salvation. When Jesus looked at John, he saw something different. For John’s steadfastness and solid friendship, He entrusted family affairs to him. He needed a faithful friend to handle matters that were close to His heart. Note the response of John. He was OBEDIENT to Jesus’ command.
- Can Jesus trust you with His most prized possession of souls, as He trusted John to take care of Mary?
- Can He trust you to send that message to others?
... reflect on these things.