The Third Word

The Third Word

“Jesus said to his mother: “Woman, this is your son.”
Then he said to the disciple: “This is your mother.”

John 19:26-27

When I read this saying I am struck most by the incredible courage and strength of Mary. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to watch her son in such agony. I am sure she felt Jesus’ every grunt, groan and gasp for breath. Luke 2:35 has Simeon, at the presentation of Jesus in the Temple, say to Mary ‘and a sword will pierce your own soul too’. Standing there at the foot of the Cross I am sure that Mary felt that sword.

Yet despite the pain Jesus was in he made sure that Mary was cared for. It is a very personal show of his love for his Mother that he did this. But why John? Was it because he was the only disciple to stay and watch the Crucifixion? Or was his very special relationship with Jesus?

It is generally agreed that St. Joseph had died before Jesus’ public ministry. He is not mentioned as being alive during that time in any of the Gospels. So it fell to the oldest son to provide for his mother. There is some confusion as to whether Mary and Joseph had other children. Mark 6:3 mentions siblings James, Joses, Judas and Simon and sisters but there has always been a dispute as to whether they are Mary’s children or cousins. Roman Catholics maintain Jesus was Mary’s only Son (to maintain her role as a virgin?). I have no problem thinking she had a full family with Joseph after Jesus was born.

I believe that Jesus asked John to look after his mother because he was young and because he held a special place in Jesus’ heart. John is always depicted as being a beardless young teenager. he certainly lived much longer than many of the other disciples. We have some evidence that both Mary and John died in Ephesus. Certainly when I visited Ephesus we were shown the Church of St John where he is said to be buried and the house where Mary was supposed to have lived. If this is true, then John took his charge from Jesus very seriously.

The question that comes to my mind is “Would I have the strength to stand at the Foot of the Cross and watch Jesus die?” I hope I would but I am not sure that I could stand the pain. And yet Jesus suffered incredible pain for me and for you. As you contemplate this question maybe the song we often sing at church will help us sort out our feelings.

Rev. Joyce Mellor

I Come To The Cross

I come to the cross seeking mercy and grace,
I come to the cross where You died in my place.

Out of my weakness and into Your strength,
Humbly, I come to the cross.

I come to the cross seeking mercy and grace,
I come to the cross where You died in my place.
Out of my weakness and into Your strength,
Jesus, I come to the cross.

Your arms are open, You call me by name,
You welcome the child that was lost.
You paid the price for my guilt and my shame,

Jesus, I come,
Jesus I come,
Jesus, I come to the cross…

Source: Musixmatch

Next week we will be reflecting on Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34

My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?