When Jesus therefore 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 into his own household.
"Behold, Your Son!"
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
A hospice is a place to die. It is a place where those who are terminally ill can receive the care they need to remain as comfortable as possible, to make peace with themselves and the world, and, then, to die. I have talked with people in hospices and people who work in hospices. They report that as one faces the final and ultimate reality of this life, values change. The man who could not do without baseball now doesn't even care. The woman who kept everyone at a distance, now wants them near. The newspaper, once so important is no longer read because it doesn't have any application to where the minds of the dying are.
Dying people tend, when they have time to think about it, to fix their gaze into the great chasm of death and forget the world around them. This is all the more real when the coming death promises to be a painful one. That is part of the reason it is so striking that Jesus noticed His mother as she stood there watching His crucifixion, and although He certainly had enough to occupy His mind, He thought about her and provided for her welfare even as He died, tortured to the end.
And John 19:26-27 says "When Jesus therefore saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said, 'Woman, behold, your son!' Then He said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother!' And from that hour the disciple took her into his own household."
This word of Jesus from the cross shows our Savior's human side. He loved his mother. He cared for her as a loving Son should, even at the point of His greatest difficulty and distress. He had the love of a son, a first-born son for His mother. And He bore the duty of a son faithfully.
He had other brothers. He would not have been the first first-born son in history to have died and left his mother to the younger brothers. There would have been no sin in that. But, Jesus not only did not sin, He did all things well. He took care where it was not reasonable for Him to take care.
It is often overlooked, but He also took care of John. John, the disciple whom Jesus loved. John was losing someone very special to him too. He was always at the Savior̓s side. He was the closest. His special friend was dying there in front of him. How could he bear the grief?
Jesus saw John standing by Mary and answered both questions with this brief word. He called to His mother: Woman. He didn't mean anything negative by that. She had been "Mama". She had been the one to whom Jesus owed and paid all honor and respect. But when He took up the mantle of His saving work, that had all changed. She had stopped being 'Mom' and started to be "woman." A special woman, a much loved woman, but another of those for whose sin He had come to pay. She was one of those who would look to Him for all grace and who would pray to Him as she had to the heavenly Father for so long.
These changes caused by His mission among us had to have had a straining effect on their relationship. How do you treat your baby as Master? How do you treat your mother as just another one of your followers?
He cared for her needs, and he gave John a special person to love and care for and treasure as the memory of His beloved master. He created a new family.
Just as He creates us to be a new family! We are all adopted to the family of Jesus Christ. Look at one another. This is your family. This is your true family. Yes, You were born into a family according to the flesh. Nevertheless, here is the family God has adopted you to be a part of.
These people sitting around you tonight are your real family. God has made them to be your brothers and sisters. He has called you out of the world, out of your family of the flesh into His family of the Spirit -- the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-20 says "So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow-citizen with the saints and are of God̓s household, having been built upon the foundation of the Apostles and the Prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone."
In a way as true as your sins are true, and as real as your forgiveness is real, this - the congregation around you - is your true family now. You are the child of God through Jesus Christ and these people are your brothers and sisters in Christ. Just as Jesus created the new relationship between John and Mary, He has also created a new relationship between us. And we are to love each other as family, and take care of each other as family. We are to be to one another more important than anyone else - closer that anyone else. Those in your family of the flesh who are not Christians, however dear to you they may be, are not "family" in the truest sense.
"He who does the will of my Father is my Mother and my brother and my sister," Jesus said. And what is the will of God? Your salvation. His will is that you might believe that He has paid for your sins, and bought you back from sin and death and Hell. And He has made you to be a part of His family. St. Paul speaks of our baptism as being adopted. John says that God calls us "children of God", and by that calling, He creates the reality of which His words speak.
There was no law here. There would have been no sin if Jesus had omitted to do this thing. Jesus certainly had adequate reasons to have such things slip from His mind. But He remembered His mother, and John, both in love. He took a moment for them out of love -- not out of need -- and answered their biggest need, for comfort, care and love.
He did even this far better and far more than we could expect or need. And He does the same for us. He is not on the cross today. He has no distractions, that He might not take care of us. His love is focused on us, and His grace, forgiveness purchased and won on the cross is already accomplished. Now He takes care of us. He has met our biggest need, forgiveness and life, and now He tends to all our other needs.
In your needs and in your times of trouble, this Word of Jesus stands to remind us that He takes care of us in every circumstance. If nails and humiliation and pain and such distractions could not keep Jesus from seeing and remembering and caring for Mary and John, there is nothing now that could keep His love from us, or His attention from seeing and meeting our needs.
This word from the cross brings us comfort and confidence. This word from the cross shows us Jesus as a human Son, and teaches us how we might also live, and comforts us in our needs.
He spoke to His mother: Woman, behold, your son.
And He spoke to, the disciple whom He loved best: Behold, your mother.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
(Let the people say Amen)
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