Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:25-27)
Relate: A man came up to Jesus, “I will follow you. First just let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to this man, “If you’re gonna follow me, do it now. Let the dead bury the dead.” (That is the BJV)
Later on Jesus was walking down the road when he turned to the crowds of people who were following him. He said to that crowd, “If anyone doesn’t hate their family: their parents, their siblings, their kids, and even their spouse, then they are not worthy of being my disciple.” (Again, this is the BJV)
For that second situation, I can kinda understand part of it. For each and every one of my seven siblings there have been times where I have felt it could be easy to hate them. As to my parents, during my teenage years, well anyways lets move on. The rest though? Hate your kids? Maybe during their teenage years. I have not had the privilege of raising any so maybe it wouldn’t be so hard. Who are we kidding? Can any of us really hate those closest to us? Does that disqualify us for discipleship? On the flip side, how many men have taken such a surface translation of these verses as their excuse for being a horrible husband, father, or son?
React: When Jesus was hanging on that cross, he was gradually suffocating. Setting aside the whips, the crown of thorns, the mockery and indignity, the lack of sleep, the beating and beard pulling and the rest that he has had to endure, just the very act of crucifixion itself is excruciatingly painful. Just putting the nails into the wrists often pulls a man’s muscles out of joint. Then a third nail is driven between both feet. When the cross is dropped into place these nails jerk against the bone and tendons making the holes even larger. A man on the cross will then need to pull himself up by the nails in his wrists just to be able to breathe. When the pain and muscle fatigue become too great, he will rest his weight against the nail in his feet. When he does this, his lungs will begin to fill with fluid and each breath will become more difficult. Finally, he will have to pull himself upward once again. Over and over this process repeats as minutes drag into hours dragging into days until finally the will and ability to survive are gone and death brings release.
Against the backdrop of this pain it gradually becomes more and more difficult to converse. Once you add in all that Jesus suffered leading to the cross, He is far further along death’s process. Jesus on the cross was not going to be giving any sermons and each statement came at a premium. The very first time He speaks from the cross is to make sure his mom is taken care of. Through all of that pain He was still thinking of others and especially of his family. No matter how we interpret those other statements, they have to be done through this lense. Even as Jesus was dying for the world, He was still caring for his mom.
Thank You so much for the beautiful, amazing family You have placed me in. Thank You for giving me parents and siblings that I am so proud to be associated with. Help me to always show them the love, honor and respect You showed for Yours. I pray especially for those who have not had such a privilege. I ask that You would bring people into their lives just as You connected John with Your own mother. In every way, help us to honor You by honoring our families.