Summary: The cross broadens the concept of family - the family of God.
THE THIRD WORD FROM THE CROSS - Affection
"Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there; so he said to his mother, "He is your son." Then he said to the disciple, "She is your mother." From that time the disciple took her to live in his home", (John 19: 26, 27
We have been looking at the words Jesus spoke from the cross in our time together. The first word was a word of forgiveness, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do". The second word from the cross was a word of salvation spoken to the dying thief. Now we look at the third word spoken by Jesus from the cross. We may term it a word of affection!
The scene is set, "While the soldiers were looking after themselves, Jesus’ mother, aunt, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her. He said to his mother, "Woman, here is your son." Then to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that moment the disciple accepted her as his own mother," (THE MESSAGE).
What is happening here? The cross broadens the concept of family - the family of God. We know that Jesus had other siblings, but it was to John, the beloved disciple, that he entrusted his mother. Members of Jesus’ family distanced themselves from Jesus, not believing in him. Mary believed in her son, and John was a follower. At the cross it is their belief that allows Jesus to bind them together in love. Behold thy mother! Behold thy son! Jesus changes the basis of relationships, it is not on the basis of natural descent, but belief and spirituality. Beneath the cross on that sad, sad day, the beloved disciple and Mary lost something, the lost the physical presence of a friend and son. However, the also gained - a fellowship was forged under the cross. Mary gained another son. And the beloved disciple gained a mother.
Jesus in his ministry announced, "I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (home, brothers, sisters, children...." (Mark 10: 29 - 30).
Beneath the cross of Jesus Christian fellowship was born not just for Mary and John, but also for you and me, and everyone who believes. Beneath the cross all true believers become family. Beneath the cross all become brothers and sisters in the Lord. Beneath the cross we all become part of the family of God - the family of the redeemed.
Interestingly, John’s gospel records, that from that time John took Mary, Jesus’ mother home to live with him. John took Mary home. She had someone to care for her and provide a place for her. For the new relationship to exist, there was something tangible that had to be done. Love was expressed in a most practical way. John was prepared to pay the price of looking after his ’new’ mother.
Jesus is looking for those today who love him, so that he can entrust the poor, widow, orphan, unloved, and needy to them.
Beneath the cross loving relationships were and are formed. Equally, at the cross a responsibility is given to the disciple - to care. You would have expected John to do what he did, would you not? For he loved his Lord so well! To care for a fellow believer is not to be considered burdensome, but an honour that Jesus bestows on us.
We should gladly entertain our poorer believers and treat them well.
I’m so glad that I am a part of the family of God,
I been washed in his Spirit, cleansed by his blood,
Joint heirs together as we travel this sod,
I’m so glad that I am a part of the God.