"Jesus said to his mother: "Woman, this is your son."
Then he said to the disciple: "This is your mother."
Gospel of John 19:26-27
There are four at the foot of the cross, Mary his Mother, John, the disciple whom he loved, Mary of Cleopas, his mother's sister, and Mary Magdalene. He addresses his third word to Mary and John, the only eye-witness of the Gospel writers. John is the only Gospel writer to record Mary at the Cross.
Jesus and Mary are together again. If you remember, we see Jesus and Mary together at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry at the wedding in Cana. Remember when the attendees ran out of wine? It was Mary who sent them to her Son and said to them “Whatever he tells you to do, do it.” She was there from the beginning. It is almost nostalgic to picture Mary at the foot of the cross, here at the climax of Jesus’ public ministry.
What sorrow must fill Mary's heart, to see her Son mocked, tortured, and crucified. Yet again Jesus rises above the occasion and his concerns are not for himself but for the ones that love him. He provides us with a glimpse of the good son that He is by now demonstrating His concern for his mother. While hanging on the cross in excruciating pain, he looks to his beloved disciple and charges him with taking care of Mary, his mother.
This picture of our Lord shows us His humanity in a tangible way. All of us come from a family—and regardless of how functional or dysfunctional our families are, we can relate in some way shape or form to this picture of Son and mother at the cross. Jesus’ concern for his mother in this moment shows his love and selflessness. Jesus’ concern for his mother shows his respect for the family dynamic. Again, from the cross at the point of death-Jesus teaches us how to live.
We ought to live life in a way that looks beyond our individual pain, struggle, and plight. We ought to have eyes that can see past our pain and our needs and discern the pressing needs of others as well. The selfless picture of love in this moment is something that is almost foreign in our relationships today. Everyone is focused on their needs, their wants, their opinions, their “rightness” and consistently pointing the finger at the other. We do it in our marriages, our friendships, our schools, our churches, and in our governments and political arenas. The truth is—we all are hurting and acknowledging your pain does not take away from mine. Someone has to stop looking in the mirror long enough to look out on others with concern and compassion—and seek to minister help and aid whenever you can—even from your own broken place. I believe that God honors this kind of sacrificial love.
So beloved, let us not be so consumed with our own pain that we completely ignore that of others around us. Let’s look out for each other. Let’s love each other. Let’s be kind to one another. Let’s be compassionate and tenderhearted toward one another. If we would do these things—beginning in our own households and communities, we can make an impact on the world!