Woman here is your son” “Here is your mother”
Continuing our Lenten series looking at the seven sayings of Jesus from the cross. As Jesus was dying he spoke seven sayings. As he was about to die, we imagine that these seven sayings were important to share with the women at the foot of the cross, or the other people around him. This week we explore the third saying – “Mother, here is your son” and exploring the importance of relationships.”
We have been looking at the seven sayings of the cross. Today we reach the third saying of Jesus as he hung on the cross. A crowd has gathered near the cross to watch the goings-on. Among the crowd was Mary – the mother of Jesus. When Jesus saw his mother there he said to her, “Woman, behold, your son!”
On the surface it is a weird thing to say. Jesus was referring to the disciple John when he made this statement and clearly, John was not Mary’s son … Jesus was. What was Jesus meaning in this statement from the cross?
As we consider this particular statement, it is interesting to note that the first three of Christ’s sayings regarded the needs of others. The first was a prayer of forgiveness: “Father, forgive them” —thinking of his enemies.
The second, a promise of redemption: “Today you will be with me in Paradise” —thinking of the criminal by his side.
The third, a word of provision for His mother: “Woman, behold your son” —thinking of his mother.
Jesus died as he lived—thinking of others.
But that doesn’t really explain what Jesus meant by this statement, so lets look a bit deeper… Jesus had been on the cross for a while – possibly hours at this stage, and in John’s gospel we find that near the foot of the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby (which is John), 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.
Is Jesus worried about Mary’s grief of losing her son, so he tries to replace himself with John? No I don’t think so.
I think that even at the time of death, this saying shows us that relationships were of utmost important to Jesus. Jesus was all about relationships. Whether it was the bond with his disciples, or the person he met on the road … for him it was all about relationships.
When Jesus says to Mary and John … here is your mother, here is your son … I think he is once again highlighting the importance of relationships. He was saying to Mary and John … it is the strength that comes through relationships, through connecting with each other, that will get you through this time. Don’t go through this alone. Go through this together. Relationships are the key.
Maybe there is another element in this story too. Jesus was dying – and He was leaving behind His mother. Jesus had just experience the hurt of being rejected and alone. Maybe Jesus did not want his mother to feel that way too. Maybe this is Jesus way of saying to his mother that he wants her to feel loved. He wants her to be cared for. And who was to take care of her? Who was to see to her needs? The disciples whom Jesus loved … John.
So how do we find hope or peace from these words of Jesus. I think it all comes back to this word relationship. Maybe these words of Jesus are not just meant for Mary, Jesus’ mother, but also for us.
I think Jesus is offering us a relationship … not with John the disciple, but with the one who created us. You see, our God is a relational God. God exists to be in relationship with others. The whole point of the trinity, God being three in one, is because it God had to be in relationship … so even the inner parts of God relate to each other.
And the bible tells us that we are made in the image of God. The inner part of us longs for relationships too. And I think we will always be thirsty until we realise that the reason why God created us was to be in relationship with him. God loves us and wants to be friends with us. He wants to relate to us in our day to day stuff. I know it sounds crazy … God the almighty creator wanting to be involved in our mundane lives … but he does.
Jesus’ words from the cross to Mary and John highlights that God in most interested in relationships … and today he is most interested in a relationship with you. For God so loved the world … so loved you that he sent his only son, that if you believe you will find life … both now and forever.
I really do pray that we all might enter more deeply into this personal relationship that God is offering us – made possible through Jesus’ work on the cross.