March 20, 2014

The Seven Last Sayings of Jesus on the Cross – Part 3

“When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”

John 19:26-27 (NIV)

There were two other women along with Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the cross and only one remaining disciple, John. All the others had fled for fear of the Romans and the Jewish leaders. No words could possibly describe the unimaginable pain Mary would have suffered watching her son tortured and dying a horrific death on a cross. As with the dying thief beside Him, Jesus took time to care for the needs of His mother. Knowing what she was suffering, despite His own agony, He secured her future care by entrusting her to His beloved disciple, John. In His day, the care of parents depended on the firstborn. There was not a social welfare system to secure the well-being of an aged parent. By this time, Joseph is no longer mentioned and most likely dead. Neither Mary nor Joseph was wealthy, and most likely Mary had little means for support apart from her remaining family. We also know from scripture that neither Jesus brothers nor sisters accepted His claim as Messiah until after His resurrection. With Jesus dead, what would happen to Mary? It would only have been natural, given all that Jesus was suffering, to have focused on His own pain. Once again we see grace unfold. Grace means shifting my focus to the pain of others. In grace, Jesus refused to allow His present pain to dull His sensitivity to the needs of those who depended on Him. When we truly experience Calvary’s love, we grow in grace to a place of concern for others that is greater than our own welfare. When you’re going through a bad day, do you take it out on others? Do you make them pay the price for your frustrations? Misery loves company; and when you’re miserable, it’s easy to transmit it. Grace shifts my focus to the pain of others and puts their needs above my own despite whatever I’m going through. That’s Calvary’s love. It’s a supernatural response that requires a supernatural God indwelling me to do. If you’re going through a rough time, don’t take it out on others. Take it to the Lord. In His grace, shift your focus from your own pain to the pain those closest to you may be feeling, and do what you can to meet their needs.