I cannot imagine her pain as she watched her oldest child dying. Truly, as the old apostle, Simeon, had prophesied, it must have felt like a sword was piercing her very soul. In John 19:26-27, John tells us that he was standing at the cross with Jesus’ mother, close enough for Jesus to see their tears, sorrow, grief, and pain. At a time when Jesus’ thoughts could have been understandably focused on himself, his concern was that his mother find a home with someone that Jesus could depend on to love her, care for her, and protect her.
This story allows us to comprehend the breadth, width, depth, and height of the tremendous love that Jesus has for God’s people. It must have been difficult for him to look into his mother’s eyes, see her sorrow, and not want to come down from the Cross to alleviate her pain. Indeed, he had a record of showing compassion to others by restoring their loved ones to them, as we read in the story of the widow at Nain who had her son restored to her in Luke 7:11-17.
But as much as he felt compassion for his mother, in his tremendous and unfailing love for God’s people, he knew it was more important that he stay on the Cross for her salvation and for our salvation. I think there are three lessons that we can take away from this story that will inspire and encourage us as people loved by God.
First, just as Jesus showed compassion for his mother and interceded on her behalf in her darkest hour, so he feels our sorrows and griefs and sees our tears. He sits at the place of honor, the right hand of God, and intercedes for us with the Father in Heaven when we experience the inevitable trials and tribulations of this world. Hebrews 7:25 states, “Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.”
Second, it reminds us that as the family of God and members of the Body of Christ, we have responsibilities to each other. In Matthew 12:50, he reminds us, “Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” As family, we are expected to love one another, forgive one another, pray for each other, be slow to anger, and quick to reconcile with each other.
Indeed, hate should never exist among God’s people, for 1 John 4:20-21 states, “ If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.” We may not always agree on every issue, but we are called to not allow our disagreements to cause the Kingdom of God to be divided and vulnerable to destruction.
Third, we are reminded that we must be willing to meet the obligations that God places on our lives, which means that we must answer God’s call to servanthood, so that the Body of Christ can be effective in fulfilling the Great Commission to go and make disciples of all nations and then teach them all of God’s commands.
My brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, whenever someone confesses with their mouths, repents in their hearts, accepts Jesus as their Savior, and are baptized into the family of God, Jesus is saying to us, “Behold your sister! Behold your brother! Love them as I have loved you.” He paid a painful price for our membership in the Kingdom of God, so let us honor that sacrifice by loving for each other.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the love that Jesus showed when He paid the ultimate price for our salvation: He stayed on the Cross. Let me remember to treat my brothers and sisters in Christ with the respect and love that You require of us. After all, that is how others can tell that we are people of God: by our love for each other. Remind us to look past the divisions in our society that today seem meant to divide and conquer us. But, then, I remember that no weapon formed against us shall proper. In Jesus’s Name. Amen.