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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

11/24/10 John 19:25-27 Respecting Family in the Midst of Stress

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

(Mary's house in Ephesus)

Thoughts: In Ephesus there is an ancient house that is commemorated as Mary's home.  It is well known that John lived out his last days in Ephesus.  Strong tradition says Mary died in Ephesus (whereas some Roman Catholic traditions say she died in Jerusalem).  Most traditions say Joseph was older and died while Jesus was fairly young.  Mary was at the cross with her sister- not with Joseph.  Jesus, as the eldest son, sought to take care of his mother.  There are other passages that suggest that Mary did not want Jesus to put himself in a position to be hurt (like a good mother would- Mk. 3:21). While Jesus would not give up his mission, he still sought to honor Mary.  Even to the end of his life Mary and Jesus had a loving, caring relationship.  Luke 2:35 says [Simeon's prophecy to Mary]"a sword will pierce your own soul also."  Clearly at the cross the sword was going deep into her soul.  Yet she stood by her son even at his death.  Her faithfulness to Him is to be admired and followed.  As people come home for Thanskgiving, it is important to remember Chist's example of care and resepct. In a secular time there is tension between family members who have given up on faith and those who keep the faith.  People of faith are still called to show kindness and respect to family- as Jesus did his own mother in the midst of his own trials.

Prayer: As Mary stood by the cross, help me to stand by you, Lord.  Give me grace to not be ashamed of you.  Give me help to be strong when the church is weak or persecuted.

John Calvin abridged: While Christ obeyed God the Father, he did not fail to perform the duty which he owed as a son, towards his mother.  True he forgot himself, and he forgot everything, so far as was necessary for the discharge of obedience to his Father.  But having performed his mission, he did not neglect what he owed to his mother.  So we can learn how we should discharge our duty toward God and people.  Sometimes families call us to do something in the opposite direction of God's call for us.  If we place people in the same status as God, we misjudge.  Though Christ was suffering unbelievable torture, grief, mockings, blasphemies and spiritual struggle with the devil, yet none of these things kept him from being concerned about his mother.  John's obedience to Christ teaches us to revere him as well.  Jesus probably called her "woman" instead of a more endearing term because he did not want to make it harder for her, and because he was leaving this world with its human relationships. That John was able to take her into his home shows that he was able to afford a house and may have had other means of employment and family.  It also shows that John did not give up all of his property as some say we should do.

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