It’s weird how we sometimes wind up at the place in the Bible that’s perfectly relevant to the moment we’re living in. Last month on Good Friday — in our progression through the book of John — we found ourselves on the original Good Friday, the day Jesus was falsely accused, wrongly convicted, and crucified on the cross for our sins. (see previous post The Good Shepherd Dies for His Sheep) Now it’s Mothers Day weekend, and we come to a passage where we learn about how Jesus cared for his mother.
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
We’ll still be locked down on Mothers Day. And I’ve been wondering how I would honor my moms. (I happen to have a wonderful mom, and a wonderful stepmom too.) I sort of feel like I got a bit of a pass this year, because, you know, there’s not much I can do for my mothers with the whole COVID thing going on. But then, as so often happens, I look at Jesus and my perspective changes.
I look at Jesus as he hangs dying on the cross. He’s already been scourged, beaten, mocked, ridiculed, forced to carry the horizontal member of his cross that weighed one hundred pounds or so. And now he’s nailed to the cross dying.
Motherhood was highly respected in both Jewish and Roman society at the time, so Jesus’ mother Mary is allowed to stand nearby with a small group of fellow believers. Mary was probably a widow in her late forties, living in a world where poverty was common, and where women especially had little opportunity to earn much. Jesus makes a verbal statement in front of witnesses, which makes it binding: he formally places his mother under his disciple John’s protection and provision. (As an aside, it’s interesting to note that the disciple Jesus gave this responsibility to was John, “the disciple whom he loved,” the one disciple who wasn’t martyred according to tradition, and the disciple who lived the longest. So it turns out, John was around and available to care for Mary, unlike the other disciples.)
But that Jesus knew John was the right person to take in his mother doesn’t surprise me. What amazes me is that under these brutal circumstances, Jesus has the presence of mind to make sure his mother would be OK. In one of his final acts before he died, Jesus honored his mother, by ensuring she would be well cared for.
“Honor your father and mother,” Paul said in Ephesians 6:2. This is the first commandment with a promise. He was referring to Exodus 20:12: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
So Jesus, and the way he loved people, once again convicts me and inspires me. From the cross, as he was dying a torturous painful death, he honored his mother.
Whatever the circumstances, I need to find a way to honor mine.
A huge thank you to my wife Kathy and our amazing friend and follower of this blog and Love Like Jesus launch team member Brenda. My two moms live three hundred miles away, and Brenda happens to live in the same area. So Kathy and Brenda conspired to have Brenda buy each mom a hanging flower basket. And Brenda personally delivered them to each of their doorsteps. They’re not even her moms! That is an outstanding example of loving like Jesus. Thank you Brenda! And thank you Kathy for making it happen.
Finally, thank you Nate for sharing that Jesus chose the one disciple who would not be martyred to care of his mother Mary. I never noticed that before.
Image of Christ on the Cross between Two Thieves by Peter Paul Rubens via Wikimedia Commons — Public Domain
Newly released book by Kurt Bennett, now available on Amazon!
Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus)
Love Like Jesus begins with the story of how after a life of regular church attendance and Bible study, Bennett was challenged by a pastor to study Jesus. That led to an obsessive seven year deep dive. After pouring over Jesus’ every interaction with another human being, he realized he was doing a much better job of studying Jesus’ words than he was following Jesus’ words and example. The honest and fearless revelations of Bennett’s own moral failures affirm he wrote this book for himself as much as for others.
Love Like Jesus examines a variety of stories, examples, and research, including:
- Specific examples of how Jesus communicated God’s love to others.
- How Jesus demonstrated all five of Gary Chapman’s love languages (and how you can too).
- The story of how Billy Graham extended Christ’s extraordinary love and grace toward a man who misrepresented Jesus to millions.
- How to respond to critics the way Jesus did.
- How to love unlovable people the way Jesus did.
- How to survive a life of loving like Jesus (or how not to become a Christian doormat).
- How Jesus didn’t love everyone the same (and why you shouldn’t either).
- How Jesus guarded his heart by taking care of himself–he even napped–and why you should do the same.
- How Jesus loved his betrayer Judas, even to the very end.
With genuine unfiltered honesty, Love Like Jesus, shows you how to live a life according to God’s definition of success: A life of loving God well, and loving the people around you well too.
A life of loving like Jesus.