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Lenten Meditation: a Word of Family Affection*

by jan on March 11th, 2012

Dear woman, behold your son…behold your mother.  John 19:26

Jesus has a special love for His own.

As we’ve already seen with His forgiving and saving attitude in the midst of excruciating agony, His concern was not with His own suffering.  Rather His attention was next drawn to His precious loved ones at the foot of His cross, His mother and His beloved disciple John.

What agony Jesus must have seen on Mary’s face. Calvin Miller describes the scene well:

Beneath the tree stood the grieving mother of the heretic.  She was a woman whose face was rimmed by little wisps of silver hair that protruded defiantly from under her mantle; occasionally she trembled with uncontrollable spasms of despair.  Before the tree a young fisherman gazed in blurred glances at his dying friend; his broad arm cradled the head of the convict’s mother.  But he was unable to console her.  The man on the cross was her son…
Miller, Once Upon a Tree

This was her little boy…her precious son that she nursed and rocked and raised to be a man to fulfill God’s plan.  Yes, she had warning of suffering ahead…remember Simeon’s prophecy when the baby was presented in the Temple?

This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul. Luke 2:34 NLT

Little did Mary know all this sword would entail.  According to Miller, romphia (Greek) was a huge Persian sword that literally skewers its victims in pain.   Jesus Himself knew all this and yet submitted to the Father’s plan.

But now He would care for His suffering mama by entrusting her to the man He knew would care for her as his own.

When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.”
And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.”
And from then on this disciple took her into his home.
John 19:26-27 NLT

Years later the apostle Paul would write to Timothy, his beloved son in the faith:

Michelangelo's Pieta

If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
1 Timothy 5:8

But this begs the question…where were Jesus’ brothers?  Surely, this first-born Son could have entrusted His mother to one of his brothers, James or Jude, or perhaps another close relative.

There was obviously something more going on here…something that includes you and me.

Perhaps a year or so before…

…as Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him.
Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to speak to you.”
Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?”
Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers.
Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”
Matthew 12:46-50 NLT

So by entrusting His mother to His beloved disciple and friend, Jesus was “creating a new family based not on kinship to one another [blood relationship] but solely through their relationship to him.”*  Although his brothers were related by blood, they had not yet become related in the Spirit through faith in Him, God’s Son and Savior of the world.

And that brings us back to us believers…those of us who are related to Him by faith.  We are His family…children of the same Father:

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. John 1:12

Jesus the God-Man is our Brother, and we are his brothers and sisters:

In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.
Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers
For this reason, he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest.

Hebrews 2:10, 11, 17

And Jesus cares for His own with a special love and care:

Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested…So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. Hebrews 2:18; 4:16 NLT

We also belong to one another…brothers and sisters in our Father’s and Brother’s family.

On the night before He died, Jesus gave us the new commandment, Love one another as I have loved you...

Why? because then the world will know you are my disciples.
Why?  because the world will hate you.
Why? because in this world you will have trouble.

So we will need each other!

Love each other with brotherly affection, and delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10

Dear brothers and sisters,
…who is it in your human family that needs your affection and attention?
…who is it in the family of God that needs your brotherly (Or sisterly) affection and attention?

Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone–especially to those in the family of faith.  Gal 6:10

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Bible Students:

Go back to the night before Jesus died (John 13-17).
Mark every time that Jesus says love with a red heart.
Who is loving whom?
Now do this for the epistle of First John.
Did you notice that LOVE is John’s emphasis?
No wonder…He’s the disciple Jesus loved.

You may also like this post:  “Love’s Abiding Harvest”

The New Testament is filled with “_________________ one another verses.”
Click here
and read through all of them, including the Scriptures.
Which ones jump out to you and why?
Is God telling you to do something about it…attitude or action-wise?

You may also like this post: “It Takes a Village…”

Activity:

In the center of a piece of paper, write your name.  Around your name, write the names of all the other persons that you consider part of your family.  Those closest to you might be written close to your name, those further away may be written a greater distance from your name. *

Now do the same with your “spiritual family”…fellow believers in your life, whether in your church body, Bible study, family, neighbors, etc.

Then answer the closing questions above…

Dear brothers and sisters,
…who is it in your human family that needs your affection and attention?
…who is it in the family of God that needs your brotherly (Or sisterly) affection and attention?

*Thanks to friends at Abiding Christ Church for sharing these thoughts.

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2 Comments
  1. Dee Dee permalink

    This is great!

    • jan permalink

      Thanks, DeeDee and blessings…missing you and pray all is well!

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