3rd Word: "Behold, Your Son....Behold, Your Mother"
Each day of Holy Week, we will post a devotional reflection on the 7 last words of Christ from the cross.
“Behold your son...behold your mother.”
Jesus was human. And by human, I mean fully human.
We tend to imagine Jesus abstractly going through the motions of prophecy fulfillment with a detached and removed awareness. That’s not to say we think He is disinterested or unconcerned with the story. We just imagine His empathy is akin to an onlooker of the story, not as one who actually inhabits the story. Even though He became man, we still see Him relating to humanity like we relate to the characters in our novels and films; sure we laugh and cry with them, but we don’t fully relate.
These last words of Christ tell another story. “John, take care of my mom.” I love that this was included in the cross narrative, because it is exactly what human beings are concerned about when death draws near, the future well being of loved ones.
These aren’t the words of a distant God who sees the big picture, knows how the story will end, and is therefore calm and unconcerned. No, those are the frantic words of someone who is about to die. This isn’t someone who can relate to the human plight. This is someone who dwells within the human plight.
This is raw humanity.
Jesus is afraid. Jesus is hurting. Jesus is bleeding. Jesus is crying. Jesus is worried about his mom. In other words, Jesus knows exactly what it’s like to be you.
You know how it can be insulting and even offensive when someone who has no idea what you are going through tries to comfort you and tell you everything’s going to be okay? You politely say thank you, but inside you are screaming, “You have no idea what it’s like!”
And the opposite is true as well. Nothing is more comforting than someone who has indeed been through what you are going through, who can actually relate to your pain and sympathize with your suffering, and who is there to say, “I know what it’s like. You’re not alone”
These last words of Christ remind us that we have a God that can actually sympathize with us in every way. Whatever you are going through or whatever is waiting for you, Jesus will be there with you possessing the power of relatability.
I suppose you could say that His experiences on earth were limited and that there are sufferings that Jesus never had to endure. He never had cancer, for example. Perhaps. But what we can say is that there is no degree of suffering He is unfamiliar with.
Nobody has or ever will endure something as horrific as the cross. He alone was subjected to the grim darkness of Calvary, and in this way, Jesus suffers alone. Nobody can say to Jesus, “I know what it’s like,” but Jesus can say to everyone, “I know what it’s like.” He is utterly alone in His suffering so that we will never have to be alone in ours.
Jesus wasn’t pretending to be human. He was and is fully human. Jesus knows what it’s like to be you.