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,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:26-27)
This is the third saying of Jesus on the cross. This statement is not as dramatic as the first two, and it almost seems like an unimportant footnote, but I think there is nonetheless a very real practical truth here that, if taken to heart, can greatly impact your daily walk in the Lord.
One quick observation I would like to make is that Jesus is undergoing unthinkable physical suffering, yet he has the roominess of heart to notice Mary. When I am slightly sick, all I can think about is myself. And if I just got beaten up and mugged on the way to my car, I don’t think I will be noticing too many homeless people on the street on my drive home. Amazingly, to the end, Jesus was focused on others. That is something to watch out for. The next time a little suffering or discomfort comes our way, let’s not close our eyes to the needs of others.
But this was not just a random person. It was Mary, his mother. This is significant for two reasons. First, Jesus was doing the most important spiritual act that there ever was and that there ever will be — he was redeeming the world of sin. It was important business. Jesus was saving the world spiritually from death and eternal separation from God. Yet, he did not use this as an excuse to ignore the physical needs of his mother. I meet some pastors who are so busy saving souls that they neglect to care for their own immediate family members and parents and siblings and relatives. They say they are doing important work and I don’t disagree with them. But Jesus shows that even while he is doing important spiritual work, he is not exempt from taking care of his family’s physical needs.
Mary is not only the mother of Jesus, but she is also a daughter of God and a widow. Widows in that culture and era had little hope monetarily so Jesus made sure that this widow would be cared for by one of his disciples. God has a special heart for the widows, the poor, the sick. And as Christians engaged in the important spiritual business of ministering to people’s souls, we must not forget the example that Christ set for us to imitate. We can never use our spiritual work as an excuse to ignore the physical needs of those around us, especially those who have little hope without the compassionate intervention of another.