Third Wednesday of Lent: “Behold your son . . . behold your mother.”



Text:  John 19:25-27

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 his mother, “Dear 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.

In this third week of Lent we consider what is traditionally known as the third of Jesus’ Seven Words from the Cross, The Word of Relationship. In this statement of Jesus, we are shown that although He faced imminent death, and was certainly beginning to enter into the downward spiral of physical shock, He did not relinquish His human roles as a son and as a friend. In these roles, from the cross, we find both honor and loyalty demonstrated.

Jesus surely was told of Simeon’s prophecy to the young mother Mary: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” On this day that prophecy was fulfilled in the most devastating way.

Jesus honored his mother, in seeing that she was cared for, both in that moment and for the rest of her life. While Jesus is certainly the Son of God, He is also certainly the son of Mary, and loved his mother in a unique and protective way; He made arrangements for her care in her elderly years, and treated her with affection and compassion, even from the cross upon which He was dying. And as she witnessed the most horrible thing a parent can imagine—the death of their child, He saw that she received a son to care for her, at the very moment.

Jesus was loyal to his friendship with John, and entrusted him with the care of His own mother. And while He could have simply commanded that John care for Mary, as a mere responsibility, Jesus described a new relationship between John and Mary: that of a mother and son. His desire was that John would treat Mary as his own mother, and that Mary look upon John as if her own son. In doing so, Jesus used some of the last breaths He had before death to affirm the powerful intimacy of parents and their children, and of the power and hope to be found in adoption between parents and children. He spoke these words in the middle of the most violent, unjust, horrific scene Creation has ever seen—the death of God Incarnate. 

Responsive reading

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed,for the Mighty One has done great things for me– holy is his name. 

His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.

At the cross, Jesus was dishonored.

At the cross, Jesus honored His mother and His friends.

At the cross, Jesus was betrayed by all.

At the cross, Jesus remained loyal to His family and friends.

At the cross, Jesus was shown cruelty and hatred.

At the cross, Jesus showed kindness and love.  


Lord’s Table