She stood there shivering as the wind brutally blew through her pores, chilling her to the bone. She could never remember feeling this cold and alone before. All she wanted to do was die. How would she go on? How could she go on? How could she leave this place? The thought of going home again to that empty house was too much to bear. She hadn’t eaten anything in the last twenty four hours. She was feeling weak, but how could she ever eat again, let alone make another meal? How would she make it through this long night until tomorrow? How could she lay her head on a pillow, breathe, and drift off to sleep in peace ever again?
Her heart was pierced to the core with the sharpest knife, and the pain was not one she could imagine surviving. Her most precious gift in life, her definition of love, her own flesh and blood, was ripped from her in the most inconceivable act of injustice.
As she looked up and and saw the naked shredded body of her son hanging there from the cross gasping for breath, and as she heard His accusers mocking Him through their twisted sense of righteousness, she felt completely abandoned and alone, helpless to do anything.
Though the blood was running into His eyes, and each beat of His heart pulsated pain into each nerve ending, He was still able to see her standing there. His heart broke because of her pain for Him. Although she was losing the son of her flesh, He wanted to give her something greater. A son in the spirit!
Was this a platitude? Simply an empathetic gesture in the moment to help ease her pain, or did He really intend to give her a new son? How could this be possible? She remembered asking that question thirty three years ago, and now she found herself asking it again.
She knew John. She loved the joy that his friendship brought to her Son. She always could see His eyes light up whenever they interacted. She loved seeing how affectionate they were with one another. It melted her heart each time John rested his head on His chest. That grown man was reduced to a little boy around Him, and she loved to see that. Such affection was rarely seen among men. She loved John for the way he loved her Son.
In one statement from the cross, however, He altered the course of their relationship forever.
“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, this disciple took her into his home”. (John 19:26-27, NIV)
Like any relationship birthed in the heart of the Lord, this relationship couldn’t be understood in fleshly terms. Those who saw it this way would not understand. In some circles, Mary had a questionable reputation. Questions about the nature of her Son’s birth those many years ago never left. The religious leaders loved to make back handed jabs at Jesus by suggesting that He was the offspring of fornication. No explanation was ever given to them. The false assumptions simply continued.
Now John was going to take this woman, maybe only fifteen years older than him, into his home? Did Jesus really intend for them to relate as mother and son in such a close proximity? Would that even be possible? This was something that only blood relatives did. What would people say? Didn’t Jesus consider the fleshly risks of non-blood relatives attempting to relate in this way in such close proximity?
Would they really be mother and son to each other, or was this simply overly spiritual, idealistic, pie in the sky Jesus speak?
I’m convinced that this was more than an analogy for Mary and John. This was their new reality. That statement from the cross radically changed who they were to each other. The DNA of their relationship was profoundly altered when they heard those words. From that day on, John and Mary were family in the deepest sense of the word.
When Mary moved in with John and the disapproving looks and innuendos began to circulate, they remembered His words from the cross and stayed together.
When days of tension and misunderstanding came, and they were tempted to view each other from a fleshly mindset, they remembered His words from the cross and stayed together.
When all the schemes of the adversary came against them to drive them apart, they remembered His words from the cross and stayed together.
I’m convinced of something beautiful. Mary & John’s relationship was not a one time event, but the beginning of an entirely new understanding of family from a heavenly perspective. I’m also convinced that this new understanding of family is more than just a new theology in the generic sense of the word. It’s more than a generic change in terminology regarding how we refer to one another (Brother, sister, mother, father).
What Jesus did for Mary and John, He is doing for us now in the most personal of our relationships that we have, or will have. One you’ve known may become a mother to you when you hear His words from beyond the cross. Some of us will gain a father in the same way. When you hear His heart from beyond the cross, one will become a sister to you and another will become a brother to you in the deepest sense of the word.
These relationships are very personal in nature and can only flourish by personal revelation in much the same way Mary & John’s new relationship began. This is the manner in which the Lord is building His house. This is how the Lord is expressed on the earth. Make no mistake about it, warfare will surround these personal relationships that begin through divine revelation. All hell will come against them to destroy them. Like Mary & John, in those moments you will have to remember the words spoken to you from beyond the cross.
“Behold your mother”.
“Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions…” (Mark 10:29-30)