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Midweek 4 – THE COMPASSIONATE WORD
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. (John 19:26–27)
- The fourth word from the cross is a word of
compassion. “Woman, behold, your son! . . . Behold, your mother!”
- Everyone else had fled, now only the women and
one disciple remained: Jesus’ mother, Mary, her sister, and Mary Magdalene and
the apostle, John.
- No mother expects to see her child die, that’s not the natural order that things are supposed to follow.
- Simeon had told Mary that a sword would pierce her soul too. Could she have realized at the time what those prophetic words really meant?
- Could she have imagined this was the way it would end on that glorious night in Bethlehem when shepherds came with the report of angels singing heavenly “Glorias”?
- Could she have understood why this was necessary to save the world, to save her?
- They must have been thinking, “This was not
the way it was supposed to go.”
- They had ridden into Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosanna!” and palms waving.
- Jesus entered the city like the King that He was. And now: Jesus is broken, beaten, bleeding, dying.
- From the cross, Jesus looks with compassion on
His friend and His mother.
- As her firstborn son He had cared for her.
- From the cross He entrusts His beloved mother to His beloved disciple, “Woman, behold, your son. Behold, your mother.”
- Jesus has compassion even in His dying breath, He cares for the needs of His mother.
- The Bible tells us, from that time on, John took her into his home.
- Everyone else had fled, now only the women and one disciple remained: Jesus’ mother, Mary, her sister, and Mary Magdalene and the apostle, John.
- Jesus does the same for us, He places us into
family, into community – His family, the Church.
- He gives us to one another that we may be sons
and daughters, mothers and fathers, for one another.
- Remember the account when Jesus was teaching a crowd in the Gospels and Mary and Jesus’ brothers wanted to take Him into protective custody, fearing that He had lost His mind.
- His disciples told Him, “Your mother and brothers are here for you.”
- Jesus looked at the people gathered in a circle around Him and said, “Whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50).
- Death is a thief that robs us of the company of
those we love, separating mothers from sons, fathers from daughters, and
husbands from wives.
- The separation of death is the result of our sin, Paul tells us in Romans that the wages of sin is death.
- But sin inflicts more damage than just death.
- Just in families we know it can create deep divisions, setting members against one another, estranging us from one another.
- But Jesus calls us into community, into His
family, the Church – we are children of God born in Baptism,
- The separation between God and us brought about by sin was put to death in Christ’s death.
- The death of Jesus brings us together into a holy community, the barrier of sin is torn down.
- Gathered in His Name, around His Word, Baptism, body and blood, we are bound together in His death and life.
- He gives us to one another that we may be sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, for one another.
- Baptismal water binds us together as one in the
Body of Christ unlike any other bond, a communion that goes on forever.
- The bonds of blood end with death as we know husband
and wife are united as “one flesh” until death parts them.
- But our unity in the body of Christ goes beyond death and the grave and on to resurrection and eternal life.
- Look around you and behold your brother, your sister, your family. He gives us to one another.
- Years later, John reflected on this in his First
- Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us. (4:7–12)
- My brothers and sisters in Christ during this time of anxiety and fear let us love and care for each other as the family of God was meant to, that we would bear each other’s burden’s and meet each other’s needs with what God has given us!
- The bonds of blood end with death as we know husband and wife are united as “one flesh” until death parts them.