Summary: Even as Christ entrusted His mother's care to John, he also set a standard for us provide for our families--blood, spiritual, and earthly.
a. This morning as we continue our series The Gospel in the Seven Sayings of the Cross I want us to focus on Christ’s third statement made from the cross.
Legend has it that a wealthy merchant traveling through the Mediterranean world looking for the distinguished Pharisee, Paul, encountered Timothy, who arranged a visit. Paul was, at the time, a prisoner in Rome. Stepping inside the cell, the merchant was surprised to find a rather old man, physically frail, but whose serenity and magnetism challenged the visitor. They talked for hours. Finally the merchant left with Paul’s blessing. Outside the prison, the concerned man inquired, “What is the secret of this man’s power? I have never seen anything like it before.”
“Did you not guess?” replied Timothy. “Paul is in love.” The merchant looked bewildered. “In love?”
“Yes,” the missionary answered, “Paul is in love with Jesus Christ.”
The merchant looked even more bewildered. “Is that all?” Smiling, Timothy replied, “That is everything.”
c. That story accurately portrays Christ as well. Just as Paul was in love with Jesus, Jesus was and still is in love with us. It was that love that gave Him the power to endure what He did on our behalf.
d. Though He put His Father’s work and purpose first, He did not neglect His mother.
e. Even on the cross, experiencing pain and agony as only human flesh can, only moments away from physical death, He still took the time to ensure His mother would be taken care of.
f. Read John 19:26 – 27—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.
2. Jesus was not so heavenly-minded that He was no earthly good.
a. Interestingly, only John, the disciple Jesus loved, records these words of Jesus to His mother.
b. There is an old adage that we should never be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good.
c. This morning’s text reinforces that Jesus definitely did not fall into that category, not even hanging from that accursed tree.
d. Jesus possessed power such that he could have come down from the cross for Mary’s sake so that she would not be left alone.
(1) Yet He practiced what He preached, always putting God’s kingdom first.
(2) Read Matthew 6:33—But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
e. God, in His wisdom, ensured that Jesus’ earthly mother was going to be taken care of; she wasn’t going to be left to fend for herself.
f. In doing so, Jesus also set a standard for us to care for OUR earthly family as well—our biological family, our church family, and our earthly family.
3. Jesus was not bitter about his own brothers’ unbelief.
a. There are some questions likely running through your mind right now. Questions like, “Where was Joseph?” “Where were Jesus’ brothers?” “Why did He place Mary in John’s care and not his brothers?”
b. Let’s address Joseph first.
(1) Tradition holds it that Joseph died somewhere after Jesus’ 12th birthday and before he started his public ministry.
(2) While scripture does not give us the exact answer, the last time it does specifically address Joseph as being present, Jesus was 12 and they found him teaching in the temple.
(3) Joseph is not mentioned again until the day of Jesus’ baptism 18 years later, and then it is only in reference to Jesus’ lineage, not as Joseph being present.
c. Now let’s address Jesus’ brothers.
(1) Scripture supports that Mary and Joseph had children other than Jesus.
(2) Scripture also supports that Jesus’ siblings did not believe in him.
(3) Read John 7:5—For not even his brothers believed in him.
(4) Read Psalm 69:8—I have become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother's sons.
(5) So Jesus did not entrust His mother’s care to His unbelieving brothers partly because they weren’t present at the crucifixion and partly because He considered John to be closer to her in his spiritual relationship than His own physical half-brothers who were not believers.
d. Jesus wasn’t bitter that His brothers and all but one of His disciples were not at the cross to show their support.
e. However, John was given the privilege of caring for Jesus’ mother partly because of his availability at the cross while other prominent disciples were not there.
f. There is an important lesson to be learned here. We miss opportunities for special privileges and, more importantly, special blessings, by not making ourselves available during times of trouble.