23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,
“They divided my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”
So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
— John 19:23–27 (ESV)
One of life’s great ironies is that children often end up caring for their parents as they grow old. When the hands that changed countless diapers become too feeble, the honor belongs to the owners of those formerly-diapered backsides to return the favor. This is God’s design and it is good.
So, naturally, when Jesus was facing his own death, one of his final concerns was making provision for his mother’s care, and he called upon his best friend, John, to take up the responsibility.
It’s both a brutal and a beautiful scene to behold. In what basically amounts to a reverse adoption, Jesus brings together two of the people he loves most in the world and binds them together; son to mother and mother to son. While enduring the most excruciating pain of his life, Jesus’ attention was turned away from himself in love and affection.
Now, in most circumstances, if we were to read this sort of story we would probably think to ourselves: “It’s well and good that Jesus would care for his mother this way, but of course he would! She’s his mother after all.” However, once again, Jesus turns our expectations on their heads and doesn’t leave us this option.
In Luke’s Gospel, we read another story about Jesus and his mother, but this one doesn’t go how we’d expect:
19 Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. 20 And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” 21 But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
— Luke 8:19-21 (ESV)
In one sentence, Jesus upends everything. If we hear God’s word and obey it, we are brought in and counted as Jesus’ truest family. Our roles are reversed and the outcasts are made into children of God. Now, as we return to think about our first text, we read it through new eyes.
If Jesus saw and cared for his mother, how much more will he see and care for us?
If Jesus united his mother and best friend as a family, how much more will he provide a family for those who trust in him and obey the Word of God?
Christ’s affection for you was on full display in this moment as he spoke out tenderly toward his mother and his best friend. Christian, Jesus loves you more perfectly than you could ever dream. Do you trust him? Call upon him today and give thanks; for he is good and his steadfast love endures forever.
Heavenly Father, we sing your praises! In your goodness, you have saved us from an abyss of loneliness and into your kingdom. We have been grafted into your family tree, adopted, and redeemed.
We must confess:
In our selfishness, we shy away from your tribe.
We fail often to uphold the covenant love we are to show our spouses, children, parents, and church members.
Vulnerability repulses us.
Autonomy entices us.
How good you are, to save us not only from ourselves but to save us into each other. Bound to one another by the hearing and doing of God’s Word, we are family, united by the blood of the cross.
How many of us have been healed, spared, or reached, because you answered the prayers of a mother on her knees? How many of us have been saved, our hearts forever changed and attuned to yours, because you ordained for us a pastor to preach your good news?
Oh, that the cross would shape the way we meet all of life!
May we rejoice in the news of a coming child.
May we serve and care for the downtrodden.
May we celebrate the restoration of
every broken relationship.
May we cheer on every fellow pilgrim
we meet along our journey.
May we walk faithfully
alongside our aging family and friends.
And when it is our own hour, may we die well ourselves.
Lord, compel us to live in such a way
that makes our neighbors raise an eyebrow.
Generosity beyond reason.
Loyalty beyond deservedness.
Gladness beyond measure.
May we care for and bear up one another daily, proclaiming the story of your love for us;
your love that turns strangers into family,
refugees into residents, orphans into adoptees.
Give us fresh eyes, oh Lord, to see you at work making all things new, knitting and kneading us together in unity beyond compare.
When we experience familial belonging here on earth, remind us that it is but a foretaste of the homecoming embrace we’ll experience someday with you in glory.
Good Friday & Resurrection Sunday
You are invited you to celebrate Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday at Coram Deo Church. Good Friday is a unique time of reflecting on the sacrificial death of Jesus, while Resurrection Sunday is a celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Our Good Friday services will be at 5:30 and 7:00 p.m. on April 15 while our Resurrection Sunday services will be at 8, 9:30, and 11:00 a.m. on April 17.