Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home (John 19:25-27).
In the midst of the contemptuous crowd stood Mary the mother of Jesus. Her heart was breaking. She followed Jesus all the way to the cross, and she stayed by his side during his horrible suffering. To watch her son die, under those circumstances, and to know she couldn’t do anything about it, was a very painful thing to go through.
It seems evident that Mary’s husband, Joseph, had already died, so he wasn’t available to help her. From what we know, at that time, the other children of Mary weren’t believers. Notice what Jesus did — as he’s dying on the cross — he spots his mother in the crowd and he feels compassion. So he asks the apostle John to take care of her, who’s referred to here as the disciple whom Jesus loved. After that, the apostle John took Mary into his home to provide and care for her.
Why is it that we sometimes treat neighbors, friends, and co-workers better than our own families? In this time of suffering, Jesus showed concern for his mother’s wellbeing. Let us follow the example of Jesus and make sure we care for the members of our family.
First John 3:16-18 says: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
From what we know, the guy who wrote these words was the same John who opened his home to Mary. John walked in the love he wrote about. He makes the bold claim that apart from Christ and his cross, the world would never know the true definition of love.
Watching Jesus die, the apostle John would’ve had a vivid image in his mind of Jesus praying for his enemies and offering residency in his kingdom to a repentant criminal. John would also remember how Jesus cared for his mother by making sure she had a place to stay.
Jesus laid down his life for us; we also ought to lay down our lives for others. That’s what real love is all about — it’s an important ingredient to healthy, growing relationships. John says, if you see your brother in need, and you offer no assistance, then how can you say that the love of God dwells in you? We need to show love in action and in truth.
Maybe that means serving a neighbor in distress. Perhaps that means reaching out to a criminal in prison through an organization like Prison Fellowship. It could also mean taking someone into your house, because God tells us to care for the poor, the sick, and the elderly.
Galatians 3:28 says: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Simply put, we have to bring our pride, prejudices, selfishness, and envy to the cross and leave it there because Jesus wants to replace them with a brand-new life.
When we kneel at the cross, we’re all at the same level. There are no prima donnas there and no spiritual giants either. There’s only one person who’s impressive and that’s Jesus himself! At the cross we see our need for Christ, but it’s also at the cross that we see the priceless value of others!
When you see a cross, think about the vertical beam reaching up and connecting us to God, and the horizontal beam stretching from side to side to connect us to others through loving sacrifice. We show our love for God by how we treat others!
Father God, in humility we approach you today and we recognize our ongoing need for you. We rejoice that you care for us even as you cared for Mary. Please remove our anxiety and fear of not having enough. You are a good provider and we trust you to meet all of our needs.
Who can you bless today with a kind word or a good deed?