Summary: We have recorded for us seven of the sayings made by Jesus from the cross. This sermon seeks to describe what were are to gain/learn from Jesus providing for his mother.
John, in specifically selecting the events that lead to belief, preserves for us three of the recorded sayings that Jesus made while suffering the unthinkable, the unimaginable on the cross. The Synoptic writers record four others. We would be in error to portray that we know for certain that these seven were all that He said. We have no way of knowing if more words passed over a thirsty tongue and cracked lips only to be drowned in the din of hatred and sarcasm. But we do know that the Lion of Judah, through sheer will, mustered the strength to roar, if not in volume in at least importance, what these inspired men immortalized. And we know why as well. Jesus is dipping the brush of His creative power into the pallet of His perfect existence and upon the canvas of life’s pain paints the portrait of what all sons and daughters of the Most High must look like.
One that has quickly become my favorite is when the Son of God places His mother Mary into the care and custody of His cousin and disciple John. She and she alone had been with him from conception through incarceration and each line on her familiar face is telling its own story with each tear providing commentary. His mind races through the many scenes of pain and fear that has resided in her heart and soul from the moment the angel declares God’s intentions and a young, unwed Jewish girl becomes pregnant and all the talk and ridicule begins. To the agony of knowing that all the pain and suffering caused to those families whose young babies King Herod had put to death was because Herod has trying to kill her son. The words of the aged Simeon, that remained just below the surface of every thought and filtered every experience: that a sword would pierce her very soul. And now the events of the past twelve hours of watching her own flesh experience - Crucifixion. Because she is as much His mother as God is His father, she is His family and the greatest love of His human heart is for her. Oh, the struggles that must have occurred between His incarnate feelings and His divine logic. He could have relieved her present agony by abandoning the cross and fleeing the Skull, but her soul was worth the tears. Instead of laying aside her grief momentarily, all the while condemning her soul, Jesus insures her entire wellbeing as John will take care of the present while Jesus himself takes care of the eternal and thus fulfills not only the law of social responsibility and the obligation of grateful son for the life she had given him but also the just demands of a Holy, Life-giving God. He found great joy in knowing that refraining from addressing her present sorrow, He could insure her eternal joy in the presence of her son and His Father.
For John this event is an issue of belief, and if we indeed believe, then the gentleness and concern expressed in the midst of His pain, His misery, His anguish must…..must soften the heart and touch the core of our existence. We must be moved deeply by His compassion and even more transformed by His gesture.