THE THIRD WORD FROM THE CROSS
So Jesus, seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing there, said to his
mother, "Woman, behold your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!"
And from that hour the disciple took her into his family.
There are at least three reasons that this word of Jesus to his mother and to the beloved
disciple is a tremendous encouragement to our faith. The first reason is this: if Jesus was so
eager to care for his mother in her hour of need, how much more is he eager to care for his
disciples who hear the word of God today and do it. Ordinarily one would reason just the
opposite: if he loved his disciples who were not his relatives, how much more would he love
his own mother. But Jesus didn't view things in an ordinary way. With him it was strangely
true: if he loved his mother with a natural affection how much more can his obedient disciples
bank on his love.
We know this because of an incident recorded for us in Luke 8:19-21:
His mother came to him and his brothers also, and they were unable to get to him
because of the crowds. And it was reported to him, "Your mother and your brothers are
standing outside, wishing to see you." But he answered and said to them, "My mother and
my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it."
That was not a depreciation of his mother and brothers, but an exaltation of obedience. It
means very clearly those who hear the word of God and do it have a more ready access to
Jesus' fellowship and help than do his own family members.
In one sense it is very risky to hear and do the word of God. For the word of God is always
calling us to sacrificial acts of love. "He who would come after me, let him deny himself and
take up his own cross and follow me" (Luke 9:23). But in another sense there is nothing safer
and more rewarding than to hear and do the word of God, because Jesus said, those who hear
and do the word of God are my...