There stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing by, he said to his mother, Woman, behold your son! Then he said to the disciple, Behold your mother! And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
At the beginning of the report of the last period of the Lord Jesus’ life we read the word, “having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1). In the narrow sense this meant His disciples. But when hanging on the cross, He gave his mother the proof of His unfathomable love.
Ahead of Him lay the worst thing imaginable: He had to be forsaken by God in order to make atonement for sins. Yet He still had His mother in mind and entrusted her to the care of His disciple John. He could not hold back the “sword” that, according to Simeon’s prophecy would “pierce through” her soul (Luke 2:35). He did not wish her to remain alone in her grief, but that she should be well looked after in the fellowship of His own.
Mary’s faith was here to put its greatest test. Jesus’ final word to her was also intended to part her from Him. He would rise again and return to heaven. He could no longer take responsibility for her, but had to give her over to others. But she could be close by Him to the end of His suffering; she was able to stand by the cross until He bowed His head and commended His spirit into His Father’s hands.
Image: By Cadetgray – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14324487