On this Mother’s Day, I would like to share a scripture that has come to mind recently.
One morning I was lying in bed and not feeling the will or desire to wake up. At this time of day, my thoughts often turn to my wife who passed 20 months ago. So, I did what I usually do on these types of mornings, I turned on the Pray As You Go App, it read the scripture:
25 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.
These words caught my attention, “Here is your mother.” Jesus is near his own death and he is still fulfilling his duties as the first-born son. Before him was a grieving mother, an aunt, close friends, and a disciple (student) that he loved. Jesus thought of his mother and passed on his responsibility to John. The narrative then says, “From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” As I listened to this scripture, I thought that was such a great gesture on his mother’s behalf. Then I wondered about Jesus’ family. Why would Jesus not leave the care of his mother to the next brother in line? Were they too young? In poor health or in poor relationship to one another? I do not know if we can really know these answers in any great depth. But I have read that in the Father’s stead, the eldest son would be the head of the household. It is assumed at this point that Joseph most likely would have already died. He is not mentioned in the scriptures during the time of Jesus’ ministry. Also, as a first-born son who is head of the house, if there was concern that the faith and inheritance would be passed on to unfaithful family, he would have a right to grant succession to another. It seems then, this was a loving yet bold move of Jesus even at the point of his death.
We know John (the disciple Jesus loved) was a faithful disciple of Jesus. His Gospel writings and letters to the churches express a deep knowledge that he and all believers are loved by Jesus. He would now care for Mary as His own mother. I do not know the dynamics of John’s household, other than he had a brother and they were known as “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17) and together they were fishermen with Peter. There is more we could sort out of this, but what struck me was John taking Mary to be his mother. He most likely already had a mother that was still living. But now he was to treat and care for Mary as he would his own mother as well.
I thought about Laina and her mother as I laid on my bed. My mother-in-law (or mother-in-love as she likes to say) and I share a similar experience in losing Laina. We both looked on as the Lord called her to walk the bridge to Heaven. We both continue to grieve, especially on this Mother’s Day.
“Here is your mother.” These words created a sort of mind-shift for me. I certainly love my in-laws and have great respect for them, but it was as my wife’s parents. We have not spent the 44 years together that my parents have spent with me, but I do love them. I felt in this moment, that this was a call from God and perhaps Laina’s desire too, that I am to love Debby as I love my own mother (George too, but this is Mother’s Day).
“Here is your mother,” Jesus says at the cross. At this point I do not need to take my in-loves into my home, but certainly deeper into my heart to love them as I love my own parents. And if there comes a day (God help me!) 😊 I will take them into my home and care for them.
I tried to get this blog competed last night. I am glad I waited until today, as I watched and listened to Debby give a message from the book of Ruth. Tears filled my eyes as she shared about her journey of loss and grieving, which is our shared journey. We grieve the past, but we hope in a God who knows the future.
Heavenly Father, You are Almighty, Holy, Righteous and Just. You see the pain and heart ache that covers the earth due to sin, death, and the devil. You so loved the world that You gave Your only Son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Jesus was acquainted with suffering and experienced death, even death on a cross. Yet You raised Him from the dead and have given new life to everyone who believes in Him.
Expand our hearts today Lord! That we would love more deeply in the midst of fear, loss and even death. Expand the love and compassion of your people to have a heart like yours. To pray more earnestly, to listen more intently, to give a cup of cold water to one who thirsts and clothing to the one who is naked. You have comforted Your people, may we comfort those around us, by the power and grace who have given through Jesus; That every name in heaven and on earth would look to Him and that you will heal the hearts of the nations.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit! Amen.
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