April 10th 2009

Loving To the End

“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.”
John 19:25-27 NKJ

At the height of His suffering Jesus thought of others.

I don’t know how you are, but I know that when I am sick or injured my usual thoughts are all about me. I have in the past undergone several moderately painful medical procedures, and I remember being preoccupied with my own pain.

On the cross Jesus was concerned about His mother’s future. From the silence of Scripture it is assumed that Joseph had died before Christ’s ministry began. Jesus knew that after His own death He could sustain His widowed mother miraculously with food and comfort, and even, from time to time, appear to her. He also knew that Mary, like all of us human beings, was created by God to need social fellowship and interaction, and, therefore, He placed His beloved mother into the care of His own cousin’s family.

There is much we can learn from this account. Jesus set His house in order when faced with death. It is good for us to do likewise. When He was no longer able to take care of His mother physically, he made appropriate arrangements. Sometimes, of course, in this day and age, the reason why we cannot look after a close relative may not be because of our own situation but because of the relative’s suffering. For example, in the case of a victim of dementia or Alzheimer’s, we may not be skilled sufficiently or capable of giving 24 hour nursing and personal attention, and so we make the tough and agonizing decision to place a loved one in a care home. The same principle is at work throughout: thinking of what is best for someone else when life is difficult for us.

Jesus left us a wonderful example. In the midst of our suffering, think of others.

Lord Jesus, thank you for showing us how, at the height of your pain and suffering on the cross, you thought of others. Help me, through your indwelling love within me, to do likewise, to think of others even in the most difficult moments of my own life.

Study by James Henderson

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