Over the last six weeks, we’ve really focused on the character of Mary. We’ve studied her first visit from the angel, her journey into motherhood, her encouragement of Jesus into his ministry and wondered about the tensions she must have felt. Last week, Rachel wrote about how Mary’s relationship with Jesus changed as he entered into his adult ministry. Now, we turn to the final moments of Jesus’ life. From the cross, he sees Mary.
When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing near by, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
His mother: Woman
This ‘Woman’ that Jesus uses is actually the same word that he uses in John 2. As we looked at in week 4, this verse emphasises Jesus’ relationship with Mary: she is his mother, but he is also her saviour.
Let’s put ourselves into Mary’s shoes, if we can bear it. Watching your son die in agony, in the most horrific, shameful way. Of course, there are many mothers who have had to do exactly this, and isn’t this the thing we mothers fear more than anything?
There isn’t much that is recorded of Jesus’ words on the cross, but these words he speaks to his mother and to his disciple are a clear message of love and care. He cares for his mother and makes provision for her. Despite his physical agony, he shows his love and care from the cross.
John: The disciple Jesus loved
This disciple is John. It’s strange: Jesus had brothers, who should have taken care of Mary under Jewish law and tradition. Yet Jesus specifically says that John should care for Mary. Most commentators agree that Joseph had died by this point, so Mary’s sons should care for her.
John was Jesus’ cousin. He was also one of the 12 disciples who were closest to Jesus. Is that why Jesus asked him to care for Mary? To comfort her? So they could be a comfort and support to each other?
John was also Jesus’ cousin, and Mary’s nephew, so there are close family ties.
The crucifixion and the resurrection
This is actually the last time we hear of Mary in the Gospels. She is mentioned in Acts 1:14, where she is in the upper room with the believers at the time of Pentecost. After that, we do not know what happened to her.
She believed. She was a woman of faith. She surrendered all that she had to serve God. Yes, she is ‘most blessed’ among women, but also, surely, one who suffered terribly to see her beloved son crucified.
At some point, although the Gospels do not record this, she may well have met with her resurrected son. We don’t know. But we do know that we have her example to follow. We know she suffered, we know she had the frustrations of any mother, and the doubts and the fears. When we think of Mary in the Nativity story, we are only seeing a tiny part of her story. As we all know, the birth doesn’t make the parent.
Our next step In HER Shoes sees us go back into the Old Testament. We’re going to study Hagar, Sarah’s slave. She’s probably someone you’ve never really considered in this way, so if you want to join us, please sign up below and I’ll send you all the details.
Our verse for next week is Genesis 16:3 – So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.
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