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Dear Woman

by David Johnson

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

 

     It is great to be together again as we look in to the Word of God.  The title for the lesson is: “Dear Woman”.  And the text is in the New Testament gospel of John, Chapter 19, verses 25 through 27.  Listen to the Word of God.

     Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”  What, a beautiful picture that is between Jesus and his mother, that dear woman, even in the midst of a very difficult, terrible, excruciating time at Golgotha.

     Many a son and daughter has paid great tribute to their mothers for millennia.  For example, Charlie Chaplin, early American movie star, said of his mother: “In spite of the squalor in which we were forced to live growing up, our mother kept my brother and me off the streets and made us feel we were not the ordinary product of poverty, but unique and distinguished.”  Winston Churchill, ex-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Great
Britain: “My mother always seemed to me like a fairy princess; a radiant being, possessed of limitless riches and power.  She shone for me like the evening star.  I loved her dearly.”  Lyndon Baines. Johnson, LBJ, an ex-President of the United States said: “My mother was a saintly woman.  I owe everything to her.”

     Even youngsters pay tribute to their mothers.  For example, a young daughter wanted to buy a slip for her mother for Mother’s Day but told the sales clerk she didn’t know her size.  Well is she tall, short, heavy or thin, skinny said the clerk?  Oh, the daughter said, she’s just perfect.  So, the clerk wrapped a size 34.  A few days later Mom came back to the store and exchanged the slip for a size 52!  Tender love for a mother.  She’s just perfect.

Listen to these touching words once again.

     John 19:25-27 “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Dear Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’  From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”

     Think about it: Before Jesus focused on giving his body and blood-life as an atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world; Jesus, as a loving son, made sure to take care of his dear mother.  Evidently Joseph, Jesus’ legal father had already passed away.  Had died.  And yes, according to Matthew 13:55 Jesus had four growing or grown half-brothers.  But they were not there supporting their mother at the foot of the cross.  Moreover, according to John 7:5 it says: “For even his own brothers did not believe in him.  That is before they saw him in his glorified, resurrected body.

     So, to whom would you entrust your dear mother?  Surely to someone who proved his love and support towards her.  And at the foot of the cross was “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”  Of course, Jesus loved all his true disciples.  But the apostle John was especially self-sacrificing, and he proved it.  John, the apostle, alone of all Jesus’ disciples, was near to the cross with the mother of Jesus.  You should understand It was dangerous for a male follower of Jesus to be there as Jesus was being crucified for supposed treason.  Treason against the state, treason against Caesar, treason against the Roman Empire.   For he Jesus claimed to be the “King of the Jews” who allegedly sought to overthrow the Romans.  So, John could well have been arrested and also charged with treason against Rome as a co-conspirator.

     Along with John, proving their love and support to Mary, the mother of Jesus were three other women.  First, ‘his mother’s sister’, which if we compare other gospel accounts, she most probably was ‘Salome’.  Mark 15:40, the sister of Mary and the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, according to Matthew 27:56.

     The second woman listed is ‘Mary the wife of Clopas’, who was the mother of ‘James the younger, the lesser, and of Joses’ as according to Mark 15:40.

     The third woman was Mary Magdalene.  ‘Magdalene,’ indicates she was from the town of Magdala on the west shore of the Sea of Galilee.  Just as similarly, Jesus the Christ, was raised in Nazareth, therefore he was called a Nazarene.

     So, at least two other mothers, possibly all three, were there at the foot of the cross; probably holding on to Mary the mother of Jesus, as she watched her firstborn son suffer and die terribly.  Other mothers know about suffering, know about suffering children and mothers suffering.

     As excruciating as it must have been, Mary did not hide, Mary did not forsake her son, Mary was there, surely her heart breaking, being pierced, probably praying God would end it all soon.  So, sacrificially loving mothers endure much.  Think of our own mothers and what struggles they had to go through.  Perhaps even as we sons and daughters were suffering through some serious time together, but with mom by our sides.

     Do you remember the prediction, the words of Simeon to Mary as he took the child Jesus in his arms according to Luke 2:35 that says in part “and a sword will pierce your own soul too?”  Speaking to Mary the mother of Jesus.

     And this of course, truly came to pass, especially on that day at Calvary, in the midst of the suffocating horror of crucifixion.  Loving mothers nevertheless bear the piercings of this life.  They are dear women!

     Yet loving mothers also experience the highest joys of family.  Probably as Mary was the anchor in raising and nurturing her family, God blessed Mary with four more sons and at least two daughters.  Mary would have been overjoyed in watching her sons learn their father’s carpentry trade.  And enjoyed her daughters who helped and accompanied her in the daily chores of the household.  In Mary’s case a family of at least nine, including Joseph, who matured together.  That’s work!  That’s love.  Of a mother that persists in her family to love and to care deeply.

     Especially today, as formally a day set aside to honor motherhood, we pay tribute to our mother’s, mom’s whether alive or not, and also to future mothers and grandmothers.  We deeply thank our mothers who in most cases, raised us and experienced a wide range of emotions both highs and lows, yet being there for us.  And that can include for some of us, someone really special, who for a variety of reasons, stood in and became like a mother to us.  God blesses all mothers, would be mothers, who stand with us through all the crosses we must bear in this life.  Why?  Because God is love, and so especially sacrificially, loving mothers emulate God in love.

     God knows motherhood at times can be overwhelming.  Like for example, I read of the house-bound mother with many small, stair-step children, who finally found a baby-sitter she trusted so she could go out to a company dinner with her husband.  Everything was going fine until she realized everybody at their table was staring at her.  Then she realized, she was absent-mindedly cutting the meat into small pieces, on the plate of someone else next to her at the company dinner.  Now that’s an overwhelmed mom!

     Or how about the five-year old who presented her mom with a houseplant and ribbon.  On the attached card it simply read “Rest in Peace” which the five-year-old thought was perfect gift because mom so often repeated over and over again: “All I need is some Rest and Peace.”  That’s also overwhelmed!

     If your mom is here today hug her, thank her, love her deeply.  If mom is not here, thank her anyway as our ‘dear woman.’  For mothers to be may you became ‘dear women.’  Deeply loving and caring for others.

     May this be true of each mother and each person, that we may be the loving, even sacrificial, people that we should be as we emulate God, for God is love.  

 

                      David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.




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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33