Holy Week - The Seven Last Words of Jesus: Third Words
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.’ - John 19:26-27
We don't know for sure which disciple is meant by 'the disciple whom Jesus loved.' Traditionally, it has been thought to be John, thought then also to be the author of the gospel. But some have also speculated that it was Lazarus, whom we know Jesus loved based on Jesus' reaction to Lazarus' death.
But whether it was John or whether it was Lazarus, this disciple is now someone else entirely. He is Mary's son.
And Mary is his mother.
You have to wonder as Mary stood at the cross, gazing up at her dying son, if she was tormented by Simeon's words when Jesus was a baby: "This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too."
Likely a sword was piercing her soul. Piercing the depth of her very being.
It's a stark and tragic moment. It's a real moment that makes us remember that Jesus died a human man with a mother who wept for him. Who would miss him. Who was present at his death, just as she was at his birth.
A mother who was vulnerable, but not alone.
Jesus put families together all throughout his ministry. He put families together who followed God together. He put families together who might under no other circumstances ever have known each other.
And in his last moments, he put a family together for the woman who brought him into the very world he loved enough to die for.
God of love and companionship, thank you for all those you have put in our lives to love us: those families of blood ties, but also those who we are tied to simply by you. Help us to seek the lonely and vulnerable so that they might know they are not truly alone. Amen.