26When Jesus saw his mother and his favorite disciple with her, he said to his mother, “This man is now your son.” 27Then he said to the disciple, “She is now your mother.” From then on, that disciple took her into his own home. John 19:26-27
If the first saying was about forgiveness and the second about salvation then this utterance from the cross is most certainly about relationship. Even as a dying man on a cross, Jesus was self-eschewing making preparations for his “mom” and her future. There is much to be said about the relationship between a child and mother and Jesus was no different, caring for his mother, as a faithful and nobel son until he died.
Being the oldest brings privilege and responsibilty. There are things the eldest gets to do, be a part of and inherit that other siblings do not. Being the first-born also carries weight in making decisions for the family and responsibility for younger siblings especially if the father is not around or dead. In this case, it is very likely Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father figure was already dead. Now about to die Himself, Jesus commissions John, perhaps Jesus’ closest disciple to care for His mother. Jesus knew John understood His heart and life and that he knew what it meant to truly love and be loved. Who better to trust the care of His mother than to John? John later went on to pen his own perspective of Jesus’ story in a gospel and few books with his name, replete with verses containing God’s love and highlighting Jesus love on earth( John 3:16, John 15:13, 1 John 3:1).
In Christ our relationships change. Jesus refers to His mother in this verse as “woman”. It’s not that he didn’t recognize her or had lost sense of comprehension. He knew exactly who she was. He was calling her “woman” because He wanted her to see Him not as a son but as the Savior. Mary was most certainly in shock seeing her first born in ribbons of flesh before her but this is the purpose for which He came. Calling her “woman” identifies her with every other “woman” on the planet and signifies to us Christ’s love and sacrifice was universal.
In Christ we must care for others. John was probably not expecting this commission but he did not resist the position. He did not balk at the request nor did he waver with hesitation to accept Jesus’ mother into his care.
Life situations can force us to alter our plans and bring people into our lives we were not expecting or counting on. We must view this as the Will of God.
Some of these people like Jesus’ mother may have had some traumatic experience and need the loving care of another family member or friend to love them, weep with them, and help them continue life’s journey.
If there was anyone who knew the heartbeat of Jesus, it was John! John who had lain on the breast of Jesus numerous times, experienced a closeness to Jesus the other disciples did not. He literally knew the heartbeat of God! It is no wonder that he is at the foot of the cross with Jesus’ mother in this instance. John perhaps better than anyone experienced Jesus’ love and he was deeply altered by it referring to himself as the “disciple whom Jesus loved”. This loved surely changed him so much that Jesus could think of no one better to entrust care of his mother than to him.
Who is Jesus entrusting to you? How is Jesus trying to change your relationships so they better glorify Him? How has being loved yourself made you a better lover for Jesus? The love of Jesus demonstrated in this small passage reveals once again just how much He loves and cares for others.
His love will change our relationships and more importantly it will change us!
George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves as student pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA