Jesus . . . said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother."
At first glance it seems that Jesus is simply taking good care of his mother in this passage. But there’s a lot more happening. Mary, Jesus’ mother, shouldn’t have needed John to take care of her. Mary had four other sons (two of whom went on to write the books of James and Jude in the Bible), and it was their responsibility to care for their mother. Why would Mary need to live with John?
The real point is that on the cross Jesus changed human relationships. On the cross, Jesus made Spirit thicker than blood. Jesus paid for our sins. With our sins forgiven, God the Father reasserts his claim over us. In Christ, we become adopted children of God.
It’s moving to think that God has claimed me as his child. It’s also powerful to realize that he has claimed others. I didn’t get a choice about who else God has chosen; he claims them, and now they are my brothers and sisters—forever. The relationships based on God’s choice are actually more permanent than the relationships based on blood relations. Tragically, sometimes blood relatives reject Christ, and those relationships end when we die.
Jesus says to us, “This is your new mother; this is your new son; this is your new brother or sister.” And when he says that, these new relationships last forever.
Jesus, I love my blood relatives. I pray for you to work in each one’s heart to become a child of the Father. Please help me also to love all your other children just as much. Amen.
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