"The Disciple Jesus Loved"
February 11th, 2020
From: "The Parable of Joy: Reflections on the Wisdom of the Book of John"
25 His mother and her sister, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene were standing beside the cross of Jesus. 26 When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple He loved, who stood by, He said to His mother, "My dear, behold your son." 27 Then to the other disciple, "Behold your mother." And from that very hour the disciple took care of her.
There has been a lot of debate as to the reason John refers to himself as the "disciple who Jesus loved." In the account of Jesus entrusting His mother to him at the foot of the cross, we see the result of this special relationship if not the explanation. John was the disciple He loved, because he was the disciple whom Jesus entrusted the most important person of His earthly life. John simply defined himself as all Christians should, as someone Jesus loved. This is a radical redefinition of the self in light of Christ.
Pilate had shouted, "Behold, the man," and "Behold your king." Jesus' words from the cross - "Behold your son," and "Behold your mother" - tell us far more about what Jesus is really like.
She had been his responsibility, since Joseph appears to have died young. We read of Mary's presence with Jesus during His three years of ministry. We usually assume she was there as a follower, there to hear the sermons and see the signs. Rarely do we consider that she might have been there as much to be cared for as to give care to her son.
Now He is about to die and she will be left alone. Despite His pain, despite the flood of thoughts that must have been rushing through His mind, Jesus thinks not about Himself but her.
If we did not have John's account of the crucifixion, we would have to conclude that Jesus had been completely abandoned by the Twelve. Here we read that at least one of them, John, "the disciple He loved... stood by." Maybe Jesus loved him because of his youth, for he was the youngest of the disciples. Jesus loved him perhaps because he was the most childlike of the Twelve. There might be a thousand reasons why Jesus loved John; of these we can only guess. What is certain is that Jesus showed John His special love for him by entrusting Mary to him for his care. When she died, before she saw His face again, the last face she would see would be John's.