John 19:26-27 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”

As I sit down to write this, we have had the sad news of the deaths of six men in the accident which occurred in Baltimore earlier this week. In a week where many anticipate Easter, these men’s families are now caught in the agony of their Good Friday. I can never hear such news without knowing that somewhere they are families for whom this is a devastating loss.

While most of Jesus’ words on the cross reflect His mission as a Savior, these words remind us also that Jesus was a son, a son born into a human family. For Mary, Jesus’ mother, the loss of Christ on the cross is a double loss, loss of the Messiah, but also loss of a mother as she gazes upon her son. Like any mother, Mary remembers all those moments of jesus' childhood, as well as throughout his life, but Mary also remembers the prophecy of Simeon when Jesus was but 8 days old: that in saying yes to God as mother to the Messiah, a sword would one day pierce her heart. Surely this was the day when that prophecy was fulfilled.

In the midst of our broken hearts, and the broken hearts of the world, what comfort can we find from Christ? What hope can these words offer?

First, these words remind us that our tears and broken hearts matter to Christ. With all that he endured, it moves my heart that even while he suffered, Christ turned his attention to his mother and his disciple, rather than his own. While Jewish custom dictated that Mary’s care should move to the oldest surviving son, Jesus entrusts his mother to someone outside the biological family, someone who would also share her faith. He entrusts her to John who will continue to pray with her, believe with her, and serve God with her. Mary was a disciple, and Jesus knew that she would be most at home with the community of faith. And in caring for Mary, John would also be comforted.

Jesus is not glib about our losses. He does not take lightly the days when swords pierce our hearts. He doesn’t briskly say, “Oh have faith” and expect us to move on. No! His tender care for his mother and disciple on the cross says he cares deeply for our broken hearts. He is with the families of those who lost loved ones this week, he is also with us. While in this world tragedy will occur, Jesus weeps with us (John 11:35), and he cares for the broken hearted and crushed in spirit

The second thread of comfort is that Jesus also entrusts us to each other. None of us can walk this journey alone, nor we were created to. In speaking these words on the cross, Jesus is creating a new community, born of his blood and the Spirit, rather than family. During his life on earth, Jesus warned that the path of discipleship might sometimes cause our families to reject us, but he would provide “mothers, sisters, and brothers” in the community of faith. What is powerful in these words is that we are created to be the hands and face of Christ, not just to the world, but to each other. We are to care for each other, encourage one another, and support each other. No Christian should ever walk alone; no disciple can be a disciple on their own. Living as a disciple requires community.

In this holy season, remember through these words the depth of compassion Christ has for the sorrows you carry. He will never leave you or forsake you. And, if you are not part of a church at present, it is time to start looking.


From Pastor Cathy