John was the disciple whom Jesus loved. We don’t get to see many details of why their relationship was so close, yet John had a special place in the heart of the Lord Jesus. And so when he sees his mother grieving his crucifixion, he asks John to take care of her…
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.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to watch your child be tortured and crucified. I can barely watch my kids make poor decisions and suffer the consequences. It’s painful to be a parent, isn’t it? The joy we experience is magical, yet there is pain. Real pain.
Jesus’ pain was too much for Mary. She must have known that very big things were going to come of her son. At the wedding at Cana in John 2, it was Mary who told the wedding hosts to bring their problem to Jesus. ‘Listen to him,’ she advised. He’ll turn your water into wine. And now he is on the cross. The world was not ready for Jesus to be King, and Jesus knew that his sacrifice would pave the way for us to have peace with God.
That was likely of little consolation to Mary, who would have struggled with the idea of saving these monsters who crucified Jesus. Yes. He died for his enemies too.
Jesus’ compassion for his mother led him to enlist John to become her son and Mary, his mother. From that day forward. Even on the cross, we see Jesus demonstrate his love for people – for his mother – for the thief on the cross next to him. Jesus doesn’t stop being the Lord of grace even in his last moments.
Honouring one’s father and mother was a command in Israel going back to the time of Moses. We recite it even today in families around the world. Elder care is part of that honouring. Helping our parents in the latter years of their lives after everything they have done for us is fitting to say the least.
Jesus sets an example for each of us.