Jesus has been described as ”the Man for others”. There is something about pain that can cause a person to turn inward; to become self-focussed. We tend to understand, though, that they need to summon all their energy to get through – to just survive. So the love of Jesus exhibited here is simply amazing. Even at this stage, whilst being in agony, He had a heart for others. He did not close in on Himself. He thought about His mother. He thought about His ‘beloved’ disciple. He made practical arrangements for them.
Paul, in writing to children in the Ephesians church, says ‘ ”Honour your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – ”that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on Earth” ‘ (Ephesians 6:2, 3). Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father/guardian, was dead. But his mother still lived, and He had her best interests at heart. In death, He honoured His mother. And if someone should protest that the aforementioned ”promise” didn’t work in Jesus’ case, because He died young, I would want to ask, ”But isn’t He still alive?”
In 1 Timothy 5:8 we read: ”If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” These are challenging words, and not always easy to obey. But we cannot afford to ignore them. Jesus’ dying example points us in the right direction. He is our pattern, our template for living. Our Christianity must be lived out at home. I realise, however, that it may well be the most difficult place to put the faith into practice.
Tom Wright mentions that this touching scene, full of pathos, has often been reflected in art. He says that he once worked at a church where, behind the altar, there was a large stained – glass window portraying the crucifixion, with Mary on the left and the beloved disciple on the right. He often drew attention to it when preaching at weddings: the man and the woman meet at the foot of the cross.
PRAYER: There is no love like yours Lord Jesus. Thank you for abundantly pouring it on undeserving me. Help me to share your love with all, and particularly with the members of my family.