If you have ever experienced excruciating pain, my guess is that most of us would not be thinking of the people around us but focused on the current pain of the situation. Something I love about Jesus is that he has always been about being countercultural and these verses in John are no different. The Bible says, starting in John verse 26, ‘When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.’
Often times when in extreme pain or hurt we think of the people who left us or did this to us, but Jesus instead looks around and sees the people that are standing next him as he willingly takes their place on the cross. I didn’t grow up in a home where family or relationships were a focus. For years I felt the loneliness and depression hanging over my head as well as the anger and bitterness towards other people's brokenness. It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I began to look back and start seeing the places God showed up in the form of people, and the redemption of relationships, because what my earthly family couldn’t provide, my heavenly Father did.
I love my family, but family doesn't just mean blood, it is so much more than that. In these short two sentences Jesus is demonstrating how as believers we are family and we are called to take care of each other. The countless number of people who let me live on their couches or spare rooms when I had nowhere else to go, they are my family. The people who sat with me in the mud, picked me up when I fell and told me to try again. Those who ran after me when I ran from them, and those who stood by me when I needed to get my anger out in a healthy way; they are my family. It is because of these people that I can look to these verses and get excited about the people I will one day get to take into my home or sit with and cry, and eventually laugh at the countless number of times they wanted to give up but didn't.
I wouldn’t be where I am at in my life today if it weren’t for the people that stepped up and took this charge to heart. I wouldn’t be who I am if it weren’t for the Johns and the Mary’s that stood by my side, who pushed me and encouraged me to be better, do better, and ultimately love better.
Who are the people standing next to you? Even more so, who sees you standing next to them?
From one human to the next,