25 Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” 27 And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.
Dear God, for the purposes of what I’m doing here, I am going to assume that John is referring to himself in verse 26 when he mentions “the disciple he loved.” I wonder what it was about John that made Jesus decide to do this. Was it his dependability? Was it that he knew John would be the last of the disciples to die so he’d be around longer? Or was it simply that he was the one who was there? Of course, we don’t know that none of the other disciples weren’t there. We’ve assumed, but we don’t know that.
I’m guessing it was a combination of trusting John and his availability at the time. But I wonder why Jesus didn’t assume that his siblings would take care of her. I know that it is vague about whether or not Jesus’ siblings were from a previous marriage for Joseph and Mary had no other children besides Jesus. I’ve never subscribed to that belief, but this story would seem to support that theory. On the other hand, perhaps Mary had been following Jesus and his siblings just didn’t understand or know how to relate to everything they were seeing. They didn’t know what to make of Mary, Jesus, or the disciples. James (Jesus’ brother, not John’s) finally figured it out, but I don’t think we know about any others. John was probably his best option and as he hung there dying, he needed John’s help for his mother.
I suppose there is something to be said for just showing up. John was there. We don’t know how close he was able to stay all day, but he seems to have some good information about things that were said and done throughout the day so I think he was certainly lurking in the shadows, if nothing else. But there he is, the temperamental disciple, now pensively and fearfully following Jesus to the cross. There is no asking if he should call down fire on the church leaders. He’s not rebuking people. He’s just there, being traumatized and watching his world change before him in ways that he cannot begin to understand. Again, though, to his credit, he’s right there and in a position to hear Jesus for what John thinks will be for the last time.
Father, I don’t know what I have to offer, but I at least offer you my presence. I give you my submission to your will—as best as I know how. I give you my ego—as much as I am capable. I give you my dreams that focus on my own comfort, reward, and enjoyment. And I give you my willingness to embrace the task that you have given me to do. The task of testifying to the Gospel of your grace.
In Jesus’ name I pray,