“When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.” – John 19:26-27
The ancient world did not create a social safety net for the poor, so the responsibility of caring for widows fell upon the members of their families. The eldest son was expected to provide a home for his mother, and if that arrangement could not be made, the next oldest son was supposed to take her in. Mary had at least two sons with Joseph, Jesus’ half-brothers James and Jude, but according to John 7:5 they were not yet believing, so Jesus resorted to His preferred family to secure arrangements for Mary. As He said in Matthew 12:50, “Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
For Jesus it is His disciples who provide His primary family relationships. Does your local church live up to Jesus’ standard in this regard? Do you know everyone’s name who regularly attends worship with you? Would you feel comfortable taking a widow from your congregation into your home for the rest of her life? Jesus had the presence of mind even while He was suffering for our sins on the cross to honor His mother with a family who could care for her whole person, including her need for spiritual encouragement. Just because we pay taxes for a social safety net does not mean we can ignore the responsibilities of being Jesus’ preferred family.
Senior Pastor, Scott Lake Baptist Church
Senior Pastor Jon Knapp M.Div. Th.M. graduated from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in 1995. He loves people and preaches relevant and original sermons straight from the Bible every week.