Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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“And beside the cross of Jesus stood his mother, and his mother’s sister,
Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary the Magdalene.
And Jesus, seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing there,
said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold your son.’
Next, he said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother.’ And from that time,
the disciple took her into his own home.”
This disciple was John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. For the rest of Mary’s life, she was cared for by John as his own mother, just as Jesus asked him to do while he hung from nails on the cross.
Some might ask, why didn’t one of Jesus’ brothers take their mother into their home and care for her? She was not John’s mother, they might say; she was theirs. But then, another may ask those people, why weren’t Jesus’ brothers at the cross, the way John and Mary were? Why were Mary’s other sons (and her daughters, too, for that matter) not so concerned about their brother that they were present when he was dying? The answer to that question is easy. According to John 7:5, “his brothers did not believe in him.”
Jesus had siblings. After Jesus was born, Mary gave birth to at least six more children. The names of four sons, in addition to Jesus, are given to us. They were, according to Matthew, “James, Joses, Simon, and Judas” (Mt. 13:55). Mark’s list is almost identical: “James, and Joses, and of Judah, and Simon” (Mk. 6:3). Mary also had at least two girls, for the Bible mentions Jesus’ “sisters” (Mt. 13:56; Mk. 6:3). Jesus may have had more than two sisters, for large families were certainly not unusual at that time, but we are not told how many sisters he had.
I realized tonight, as I sat alone in the dark praying and meditating on the things of God, that the Bible never mentions any reaction from Jesus’ brothers to Jesus’ dying request that his beloved disciple John adopt Mary as his own mother. And there is a very good reason that the Bible never tells us about that. Do you know what that reason is? I do.
The reason that the Bible never says what Jesus’ fleshly kinsmen thought about John adopting Mary is that God didn’t give a hoot about what they thought about it! Those unbelieving kinsmen of Jesus were, in God’s eyes, no kin to Mary at all, and no kin to Jesus. It was none of their business what Jesus, John, and Mary decided to do about Mary’s living arrangements because they were discussing family business about which outsiders had no right to an opinion. Jesus and John were two brothers, discussing what to do with their mother. John was Mary’s son, and Mary was John’s mother. Their common faith in Jesus made it that way.
When he was preaching one day, Jesus asked the people this question, “Who is my mother? And who are my brothers?” Then, “extending his hand toward his disciples,” Jesus answered the question for them: “Here are my mother and my brothers. Whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Mt. 12:48—50). And if you do not feel, “with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind, and all your strength” the same way Jesus feels, there is sin in your soul, and you do not know God. Everybody who knows God thinks and feels just like Jesus, for Jesus was God’s messenger. He only said what the Father gave him to say. Jesus did not invent the idea that those who hear and obey God belong to Jesus’ family; Jesus got that idea from his Father in heaven!
We know how Jesus answered the question, “Who is my family?” Now, how do you answer it?