One of the most compassionate and selfless scenes that Gospel writers record in the life of Christ occurs in the last moments, as He is gasping for those final breaths. It's a scene I'm thinking about this week, because in our house gift-giving holidays (like birthdays, Mother's and Father's Day, Christmas ...) aren't single days, but whole week celebrations. So, Mother's Day ('er week) is on my mind today, although brunch came and went on Sunday.
Here's how John records the scene I want to draw to your attention today:
But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold, your son!" Then He said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" From that hour the disciple took her into his own household. (John 19:25-27; NASB)
In honor of my mom, who (along with my dad) is my dearest and most understanding cheerleader, supporter and friend, I have a few observations from the passage that might be both comforting and challenging to those adult children among us who find ourselves cast in the roles of caregiver/advocates for our parents.
The beauty in this scene is three-sided.
But standing by the cross of Jesus is His mother.
The one who didn't always understand Him; didn't always get what He was all about, sometimes even tried to sidetrack Him from the mission His Father sent Him to fulfill--even yet, she stood by Him to the bitter end. The end that pierced her heart, as was prophecied by the sage Simeon on another day in Jerusalem--the day of the infant Christ's dedication at the temple. That's what moms do, at their best (although I grieve over the fact that not all moms achieve this height).
The second side of the scene's poignant beauty is the Son's action in being absolutely certain that He entrusted the mother He loved into the care of His most beloved and trustworthy disciple--John.
Behold your mother.
In those few words, so much more was said: Take care of this one I love as if she were your very own. Be kind to her. Compassionate. Care for her. See that her needs are met. See that she has safety, protection, food, a place to live, a place where she's needed and wanted and loved. Be to her what I would be if I were there--companion, friend, confidante. I trust you to do that for her, as if you were doing it for Me.
Don't you love that scene? Faithful parent. Concerned adult child. Compassionate caregiver. Eyes meeting, through a veil of tears, in a moment of such intensity that the earth would soon shake in agony and the sky would turn to total darkness. These are moments we who are caregivers can feel--because in many ways we've been there ourselves. Commiting our parent into the care of medical teams, other relatives, staffs at rehab facilities or even nursing homes. Oh, how we can relate to the words of the Son of God--instructing His earthly friend on the long-term care of His mother. We too have begged -- Care for my parents as if they were your own.
The final beauty of this scene comes in the simple line,
From that very moment, that disciple took her into his home.
No second-guessing. No waffling about fulfilling the request. No wishy-washy or half-hearted response. An immediate and complete action. Close-up. Affecting John, and Mrs. John, and their entire household. And yet, he did it, out of love for the Master.
On this Mother's week, I'm rededicating myself to doing as John did ... to quickly and open heartedly doing all I can in the care of the loved ones Christ has entrusted to me.
Blessings to you on Mother's week, and all year round!
© 2010, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: firstname.lastname@example.org