A Tender Moment


“Near 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, He said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, the disciple took her into his home.” John 19:25-27 NIV.

A little group of women, alone and vulnerable in a crowd of abusive men and Roman soldiers. Did they care? They cared enough about Jesus to ignore the hostile mob around them. They stood near the cross, near enough to hear His laboured breathing and to watch the pool of blood spreading on the ground beneath the cross. They clung to one another for support and comfort in their grief. The one who was suffering the agony of hell, innocent as He was, was dearer to them than any other person on earth.

As much as He needed His disciples at that moment, (and only His beloved disciple was near enough to talk to), Jesus needed the women. They loved Him. They believed in Him, no matter what the religious authorities and the Roman government had done to Him. They wept for Him and for themselves for their loss. He was beyond their touch and their help. They would no longer be able to care for Him, prepare food, mend His garments, listen to His gracious teaching and be close to Him.

Mary, His mother felt it the most. Did she not carry Him in her womb for nine precious months as she pondered on the angel’s message and felt His tiny life stirring within her? Had she not borne the pain of His birth, and known the joy of holding the soft bundle in her arms? Had she not suckled Him and watched Him grow sturdy and strong?

Did she not lovingly nurture Him to robust young adulthood and then have to let Him go after thirty years of His being there in her home caring for her as her first-born son? Did she not often hold His strong hands, calloused from the hard work which her beloved Joseph had taught Him to do?

She felt as though her heart was being ripped from her chest. Although He had been long gone from her home, she knew He was still there somewhere, alive and available from time to time as He moved around the country. Now she could only watch helplessly as His life slipped away. He was so young, too young to die. All she would have left would be her precious memories.

John also stood nearby. Many thoughts flooded his mind as he watched the gruesome scene with horror. He had only know Jesus for just over three years, but they were three action-packed years, full of never-to-be forgotten miracles and riveting new ideas in the company of a man who was like no one he had ever known. He had watched and listened, and had eventually been convinced and embraced Jesus as the Son of God.

Jesus’ love was gentle, tender and all-encompassing. He cared about the throw-away people, who lived on the fringe of society, whom everyone else considered trash. He was bold and courageous in the face of open hostility from the powerful religious leaders. He spoke the truth in the face of criticism, anger and abuse and was unfazed by the threat of death because He knew who He was and why He had come. He almost seemed to invite arrest and the possibility of execution because He fearlessly exposed their hypocrisy and refused to back down on His claims.

Listen to Him in His dying moments. As awful as His agony was at that moment, He saw His mother and felt her sorrow. With painful gasps He entrusted her to His beloved friend, John, and John to her. She would have a new son, and John a new mother, united in their grief and in their love for Jesus.

As we inch our way through these terrible hours, six long hours of unspeakable suffering, we see a naked man, clothed in His own blood and the spittle of those who despised Him, wearing His royal robe with dignity and honour because it represented victory over prejudice, bigotry, and irrational hatred; His tender love for those who loved Him and forgiveness for those who hated Him and tortured Him to death. His final, rasping words were words of compassion for those who suffered with Him, always forgetting Himself in the face of the needs of others.

His plight at that moment was His response to the greatest need of all, the need of all mankind to be reconciled to the Father and to come back home. He paid the debt so that we can be forgiven and accepted into God’s forever family.

Categories: Bible Study Tags: , , ,

Luella Campbell

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