[reprinted from March 4, 2010]
Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also the coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. Then they said to one another, â€œLetâ€™s not tear it, but cast lots for it to decide whose it will be,â€ that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which says,
â€œThey parted my garments among them. For my cloak they cast lots.â€
Therefore the soldiers did these things.
But there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his motherâ€™s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Therefore when Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, â€œWoman, behold your son!â€ Then he said to the disciple, â€œBehold, your mother!â€ From that hour, the disciple took her to his own home. Â John 19:23-27 (WEB)
I believe God pointed this Scripture out to me today because I know some people who are going through great pain in their lives right now. Jesusâ€™ road to Calvary is full of His love for me. (I hope I can write this next part clearly â€“ help me, Lord!) Jesus went to the Cross and gave His life in sacrifice for me. That was everything and enoughbut â€“ today I saw that even though that was everything and enough â€“ Jesus gave me more! Jesus showed me again (and again!) how He â€“ even as God â€“ can also show me in â€˜humannessâ€™ His understanding of my life and the tragedy and suffering that can come.
Jesusâ€™ personal garments, all that He had left in this world, became no more than â€˜bootyâ€™ or plunder for the Roman soldiers. I was always taught as a child in Bible class that Jesusâ€™ garment was probably made by His mother. It was certainly made with much effort and skill to weave it as one piece and without seams. They were not a rich family and Jesus, being single, may very well have been wearing a tunic made by His mother. And so maybe His mother was standing there watching her son being tormented and beaten and then one more insult on top of so many â€“ His tunic is given to a Roman â€“ through the degrading sport of gambling!
Then the â€˜camera lensâ€™ swings around and I am no longer looking toward Jesus but I am looking through His eyes to His mother. Mary is always shown to me as a woman of quiet yet determined faith. She has withstood the whispers and snickers since before Jesus was born. And yet she, too, has set her eyes forward and not looked back. Jesus turns His eyes to this woman that, I donâ€™t believe any of us would debate, He loves. He sees to her care and entrusts her to one of His closest disciples, someone He trusts will do whatever it takes to care for her. It is interesting to note here that Mary had other children who I would assume would take up her care after the death of her eldest son â€“ but Jesus knows the weakness of His biological brothers and sisters. He turns to John who is already standing close by and maybe instinctively ready to support Jesusâ€™ mother however he can. Jesus confirms to John what he wants him to do â€“ care for His mother; allow her to care for him. How beautiful and how awesome!
Jesus brings me through the pain and the suffering so that He can show me the hope and the promise that only HE can guarantee.
â€œBehold, I come quickly. My reward is with me, to repay to each man according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify these things to you for the assemblies. I am the root and the offspring of David; the Bright and Morning Star.â€ Â Â Â Revelation 22:12-16 (WEB)
If this is a day of pain and suffering for you â€“ take heart! Jesus has (itâ€™s done!) overcome this world so grab on to that true promise! If you know someone who is suffering, then be that disciple, that ambassador, of Jesus and walk out His promises to encourage and point your loved one toward the hope that is Jesus.