Summary: Stations of the Cross, Pt. 7 (Final)
THE BEST OF OUR LOVE (JOHN 19:25-27)
25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," 27 and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:25-27)
One of the most compelling stories lost to the world in its excitement over the invention of the telephone was the urgency of the great inventor Alexander Graham Bell to make a breakthrough in communications for the sake of a loved one. No one had more vested interest than Bell, whose mother was deaf. It’s been said that “the telephone, which the deaf could never use, owed its genesis to Bell’s unique understanding of the physiology of hearing.” Unfortunately, the phone as a product had overshadowed Bell’s ongoing commitment to the deaf and his many products he invented or designed to improve their lives.
Bell’s parents were educated people and both his father and grandfather were speech experts. However, his mother, Eliza Grace Symonds, a portrait painter and an accomplished musician, started to lose her hearing when her son was twelve.
In 1861, a double misfortune occurred. Mabel Hubbard, Bell’s future wife, developed scarlet fever and also lost her hearing. Before his invention, Bell had taught single-mindedly at Sarah Fuller’s Boston Day School for the Deaf and had established both a school for teachers of the deaf and a private school for deaf students in Boston, Massachusetts. It was another 15 years later before Bell began working with his wife on her speech and invented the phone the same year. Someone noted, “Alexander Graham Bell began by seeking to help the deaf, and he ended up with the telephone.”
Before Jesus died at the cross, He offered the best of a child’s love to his mother, who had come to behold, comfort and mourn him before He breathed his last. Mary visited and contacted Jesus as much as any mother could her child. Before his departure, Jesus chose his most affectionate disciple, John, to take care of the person who had bore, raised and understood Him – his mother. The apostle John was the perfect candidate for the task. John, though often overshadowed by Peter, was an imposing figure in the New Testament. A prolific writer, he was one of Jesus’ three closest apostles (Mk 5:37) and often called himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 13:23-25, 21:7, 21:20).
What did Jesus see and admire in a person like John? Do responsibilities weaken us or strengthen us, help us or hinder us? How can we rise up to life’s challenges and crises?
A Disciple Has Courage to Combat Fear
During his years as premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev denounced many of the policies and atrocities of Joseph Stalin. Once, as he censured Stalin in a public meeting, Khrushchev was interrupted by a shout from a heckler in the audience. “You were one of Stalin’s colleagues. Why didn’t you stop him?”
“Who said that?” roared Khrushchev. An agonizing silence followed as nobody in the room dared move a muscle. Then Khrushchev replied quietly, “Now you know why.” (Today in the Word, July 13, 1993)
The first admirable quality that Jesus saw in John the beloved disciple was his courage, the ability to stand up to fear and not shut down with fright.
Someone once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the mastery of it.” Another said, “Courage is doing what you are afraid to do.” (Eddie Rickenbacker) Or in the words of John Wayne: “Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.”
John was a witness of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. While all the disciples abandoned Jesus at his arrest, the apostle John was the courageous leader who remained steadfast though he had fled like the other disciples. Not only did he return to face his fears, he went with Jesus all the way to the high priest’s courtyard after the soldiers had arrested Jesus (John 18:15).
On the resurrection morning, after Mary Magdalene told Peter and John that Jesus was risen, John was the first apostle to reach the tomb, the first to believe (John 20:8) and the one who pointed Peter to Christ by the sea of Tiberias (John 21:1, 7). He was the true disciple who braved the courtyard, the cross and the cave.
In fact, John was the rightful leader of the apostles before Peter was restored and even though Peter was God’s mouthpiece at Pentecost, John’s name consistently appeared together with Peter in Acts as the two leaders of the early church (Acts 3:1, 4:1, 8:17).