“When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” (27) Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.” John 19:26-27
This is a story of adoption. It is the transference of love and care by a son to a beloved friend. It is also having a new son to fill the void created through the loss of a beloved son. Throughout this exchange, love is the primary theme as mother and son/ son and mother are connected in a new relationship. The background is the cross, while Jesus, the Son of God, pronounces His blessings upon them while enduring His greatest crisis. He did not merely focus upon His current condition, but looked ahead at the future needs of His best friend and His mother. Those who love Jesus also love the objects of His affection. He felt at ease that the treatment of His mother would be the same as He would have treated her.
This scene illustrates to us the duality of the expression of true love. True love fills a need, but at the same time, love creates a need. What is poured forth from the heart must not leave a vacuum. The empty feeling experienced by loving without reciprocation leads to deep frustration and pain. A mother will carry a child for months with the anticipation of nurturing and providing for her bundle of joy. But if she miscarries before her child reaches full term, no outlet is available for her to express all of the stymied emotions of love and care. Her love requires an object where she can display her affection. To those mothers whose pregnancy was aborted by circumstances beyond their control or a decision that they now regret, Jesus provides an outlet by allowing one to adopt another to replace what may be absent.
The pain suffered by loss, whether it is by divorce, the death of a loved one, or by abandonment, is real pain. There will be moments when it may appear overwhelming and tempting to close one’s heart as to never love again. A closed heart produces a root of bitterness whereby many others are defiled. They will either be burdened down by depression or vindictive as a protective mechanism in one’s defense. In either case, much damage is done to the soul. The heart must be opened in order to allow another person in. Jesus knows what we need and is ready at all times to meet our deepest need. John needed a mother to comfort him at the departure of his best friend. A mother can be confided in where even a man who may be reluctant to express his tender side can cry in her arms. Additionally, a mother also needs a child. There is a special connection between mothers and sons. She is his role model of femininity just as fathers are role models to their daughters of masculinity. Jesus received His nurturing from His mother. She was there from the beginning and was determined to be there at the end.
What Jesus knew and promised was that His absence would be temporary. He would rise from the dead, but not as the Son of Mary or the Son of man, but in His resurrected body as the Son of God. His Spirit filled His followers, including the mother that once knew Him as her Son. It is the Spirit of the Son of God that makes all earthly relationships meaningful. Mothers can be godly mothers when the Spirit of God’s Son has enveloped them. Sons can be godly sons when the His Spirit interprets the truest meaning of life and relationships. Let His love arise in your hearts—mothers and sons, fathers and daughters, in order to make you completely whole.