Our time of death causes a certain clarity of vision. What once seemed important to us in the prime of our health and life no longer matters. No one ever said on their deathbed, "I wish I'd spent more time at the office." What some people do say on their deathbed is more likely to be, "I wish I had spent more time with my family."
Jesus may been thinking something along those lines as he drew his last breaths from the cross. Notice how he doesn't say, "I wish I'd spent more time with my disciples. I wish I'd spent more time healing the sick. I wish I'd spent more time feeding the hungry." No. Instead, Jesus' thoughts turn to his mother and he says to her, "Woman, here is your son …"
Jesus offers his mother John, the beloved disciple, to be her son. Maybe he thought John could the son to his mother that he could never be. Maybe Jesus thought his mother would need the continued support of a son to look out for her after he was gone. We don't know what was the thinking behind Jesus statement, "Woman, here is your son …" We do know the emotion behind his statement and that was a feeling of love.
Jesus mother had stood with him through thick and thin. She carried him in her womb while she and Joseph searched Bethlehem for a place to spend the night and were told there was no room in the inn. She was with him in the manger when the angels sang and wise men brought gifts from afar. She carried him in her arms in the flight to Egypt to escpape Herod's harms. She searched for him and found him in the temple when he was nearly a teenager. She got him to perform his first miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding. She stood underneath his cross now and heard his words to her as he died, "Women, here is your son …" Jesus loved his mother and his mother loved him too. No wonder she was on his mind and in heart as he was dying.
It is worth noting that the beloved disciple responded in obedience to Jesus' request. We read in the gospel, "Then he said to the disciple, "Here is your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home." When Jesus puts someone on our heart to care for we respond in obedience. We support them. We pray for them. We contact them. We care for them.
On this Good Friday, as we contemplate Jesus on the cross, let us consider the certainty of our own death. When the moment of transition comes for us, our hearts and our minds will most likely be upon our mother, our spouse, our child. Let us hold them in our hearts today even as Jesus held his mother in heart on the cross.
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Good Friday Sermon 2013
"Woman, here is your son …"
12:55 pm at Salem Lutheran Church