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WHY DID JESUS SAY- WOMAN, BEHOLD THY SON? 

(Monday, May 18, 2020)

1.0 BACKGROUND

The Bible reveals that, Jesus had siblings on this earth. The chapters and verses of Mark 6: 3-4; Mark 15:40; Act 1: 14; Galatian 1:19; John 7: 3-10; The Urantia Book 123; 124; 126 & 127 articulate them are given below:

  • Isn’t he the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters living here?” And so they rejected him. (Mark 6: 3-4). So we know Jesus had 4 brothers and at least 3 sisters (if there had been only 2, the word ‘both’ would have been used which was practiced for 2 members during that time instead of ‘sisters- which was used for all’) who are accepted as siblings. It follows that Joseph (husband of Mary) must be dead, because his name was not mentioned. However, Mary and that all those names mentioned were alive when this was said about the Jesus.
  • Some women were there, looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joseph, and Salome. (Mark 15: 40). Salome was the wife of Zebedee of Capernaum and mother of James, John (“the disciple whom Jesus loved”, cf. also John 13:23; 20:2; 21:7; 21:20), David and four daughters. She was also a relative of Annas, onetime high priest at Jerusalem and still the most influential of the Sadducean group during that period.
  • They gathered frequently to pray as a group, together with the women and with Mary the mother of Jesus and with his brothers. (Act 1: 14)
  • I did not see any other apostle except James, the Lords brother. (Galatian 1: 19).
  • …so Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave this place and go to Judaea, so that your followers will see the things that you are doing. No one hides what he is doing if he is doing if he wants to be well known, let the whole world know about you!” (Not even his brothers believed in him) Jesus said to the… then stayed on in Galilee. But after His brothers had gone up to the feast, He also went–not publicly, but in secret. (John 7: 3-10) The Urantia Book 129: 1.3 reveals that Jesus worked with Zebedee only a little more than one year (boatmaking business) and during this period he lived in the home of Zebedee at Capernaum. Zebedee was his stepfather’s (Joseph) friend, who was a boatbuilder. Zebedee’s sons (James, John and David) were fishermen.
  • It was three years later that I went to Jerusalem to obtain information from Peter, and I stayed with him for two weeks. I did not see any other apostle except James, the Lord’s brother. (Galatians 1: 18-19)

The Urantia Book articulates that Jesus had a total of 8 siblings i.e. 5 brothers [James (The Urantia Book 123: 1.5), Joseph (The Urantia Book 123: 4.9) Simon (The Urantia Book 123: 6.7), Jude (The Urantia Book 124:3.4), and Amos (The Urantia Book 124: 5.2 who died in early age)]; and 3 sisters [Miriam (The Urantia Book 123:2.3), Martha (The Urantia Book 124: 1.7), and Ruth, who born after the death of her father Joseph (The Urantia Book 124: 5.2; 126: 3.2)].

However,  In John 19:26–27 we read something unique, when Jesus was on the cross, both the apostle John and Mary the mother of Jesus stood nearby and Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, behold thy son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Behold thy mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” The clear understanding of the passage is that Jesus commanded John to care for Mary after His death. This incidence puzzles us and lead us to think and get answers of following two questions:

  • Why did Jesus entrust Mary to the apostle John instead of to His brothers?
  • Jesus was knowing all these things that will happen with Him. Moreover, he had also revealed this to his disciples several times. Then, why did Jesus take or reveal such an important decision (about ensuring her mother’s care) at the last moment?

2.0 WHY DID JESUS CHOOSE JOHN OVER HIS SIBLINGS AND OTHER DISCIPLES TO TAKE CARE OF HIS MOTHER MARY?

2.1 The care of Jesus’ sole remaining parent was His responsibility

The Urantia Book 126: 2.1-2.3 articulates that Joseph (Mary’s husband) died in an accident while at work on the governor’s residence when Jesus just past fourteen years of age, who shouldered the responsibility of caring for his widowed mother and seven brothers and sisters- and another yet to be borne (Ruth). As being the eldest child in the family, the care of His sole remaining parent was Jesus’ responsibility. Moreover, other children must have got married and were living with their respective nuclear families. Jesus was still unmarried, and in last days Mary was living with Jesus’ group. Mark 3:32-35 states about the incidence when Mary came to Jesus with his brothers and sisters to bring him home because they thought that he was nuts. But Jesus said, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does “God’s will” is my brother and sister and mother.” That don’t bode well for family togetherness. But it is possible that Jesus’s ministry caused a rift in the family. So, Jesus’ brothers and sisters went back home. But it’s very possible that after the confrontation with Mary and Jesus’ siblings, Mary decides to go with Jesus on his missions to take care of him. Since Jesus was about 32 when he went on his mission, the youngest of Mary’s children would be about 17-18 years of age. So, they didn’t need mommy to take care of them anymore. The bible states periodically that in His last days Mary was with Jesus. This means she would be Jesus’ responsibility. After His death Mary would have needed to be looked after by someone else.

Although she was widow and God has a soft spot for this group. In Old Testament we read, a woman whose husband has died, and frequently classed with the fatherless and orphans (Deuteronomy 14:29;16:11; 24:20; 26:12; Ps 94:6). God was her legal protector (Psalm 68:5, 146:9, Proverbs 15:25), and provider (Deuteronomy 10:18). Those who denied her justice were cursed by God (Deuteronomy 27:19). At harvest time the widow might glean the grain in the fields as well as some grapes and olives (Deuteronomy 24:19; Ruth 2:2, 7, 15–19), and she was also eligible for some assistance from the third-year tithe. Nevertheless, the poverty of widows and the cruel treatment extended to them was so widespread that frequent reference is made to it (Job 24:21;29:13, Psalm 94:6; Is 1:17, Isaiah 1:23; Malachi 3:5). But by the time of Jesus situation and available provisions for widows had changed and Mary (although she was officially a widow) was not entitled to get benefits due to following reasons: (i) She was below 50 years i.e. about 48 years (ii) she had other children and relatives to take care of her. 1 Timothy 5:9–16 reveals that there was a recognized group of widows eligible to receive charity. They were generally those over 60 years of age who had only been married once, were in poverty, had no relatives to support them, and had lived blameless lives filled with Christian good works.

Therefore, Jesus wasn’t about to leave it to others to decide, given the opportunity to arrange the matter Himself (even though He had to do so from the cross). As for Mary and John? During the time that Mary was apart of Jesus’s group, it may have fallen to John to take care of her needs. This would have allowed a relationship between John and Mary to build. Then when Jesus tell John, “behold thy mother,” John would have already been comfortable with looking after Mary.

It was clear understanding of the passage is that Jesus commanded to both (not a request) John to care for Mary after His death and Mary to be remained under the care of John. On the Cross, Jesus is holding the position of “King of the Jews” John 19:19–20 says, it was written “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” The place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, so that many people could read it. Moreover, Jesus addressed Mary as “Woman” an impersonal noun (John 19:26) for the second time. The first time during the wedding at Cana (John 2:4). By using this statement, Jesus was separating her mortal from His divine nature.

  • Jesus did wait his siblings till the cross to believe in Him

Mark 6:1-6 states that His brethren; the children of Joseph and Mary, did not believe in Him. Jesus’ siblings did not believe He was the Son of God, or who He said He was, even though they saw his miracles. The answer is found in John 7. In verse 5 we read “For even His brothers did not believe in Him.” The gospels make it clear that Jesus’ siblings did not believe in Him until after the resurrection. We know that Jesus appeared to James, for 1 Corinthians 15:7 says “After that He was seen by James.” It is probable that this event is what finally inspired James to believe in His brother as the Son of God. Following are some of the other stances that prove it:

John 7:5: For even His own brothers did not believe in Him until after His resurrection. Further, Jesus’ brothers were not present at the time Jesus hung on the cross or during His crucifixion.

Mark 6:4: But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.

John 7:3: So Jesus’ brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go to Judea, so that Your disciples there may see the works You are doing.

Acts 1:14: His brethren believe after His death and resurrection. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

Galatians 1:18-19: His brother James became one of the apostles after his death and resurrection Paul says in Galatians, then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.

2.3 Long-term security of Mary because John had longest period of life among the disciples and Jesus’ siblings

Jesus´s two other brothers also became apostles after His resurrection; Jesus knew that they were going to die soon too. James was the first, slain by Herod soon after Him. Mary’s remaining children died or were persecuted, like James the Just. Jesus wanted to have a long-term security Mary. He did not want to see Mary to fell in vulnerable situation anymore.

John 21:20-23 reveals that John appears to have lived the longest among the apostles. By the way, John went to live a very long time, not a pleasant one though.  The verses says, “Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?”

2.4 Jesus loved John who also loved and believed in Him

Jesus being able to know the hearts of His disciples and his brothers and sisters would have no difficulty in choosing who would be best suited to comfort Mary. John had already expressed his willingness to take care of the Mary’s need long ago. The Urantia Book 129: 2.3 reveals that when Jesus was with Zebedee family in Capernaum, John had a long talk with Jesus on this matter.

Before leaving Capernaum, Jesus had a long talk with his new-found friend and close companion, John Zebedee. He told John that he contemplated traveling extensively until “my hour shall come” and asked John to act in his stead in the matter of sending some money to the family at Nazareth each month until the funds due him should be exhausted. And John made him this promise: “My Teacher, go about your business, do your work in the world; I will act for you in this or any other matter, and I will watch over your family even as I would foster my own mother and care for my own brothers and sisters. I will disburse your funds which my father holds as you have directed and as they may be needed, and when your money has been expended, if I do not receive more from you, and if your mother is in need, then I will share my own earnings with her. Go your way in peace. I will act in your stead in all these matters.” (The Urantia Book 129: 2.3)

2.5 Reveal the God’s plan and Jesus’ life to John through Mary

The Gospel and epistles of Apostle John were different from other writers. Can you imagine the conversations Mary and John had together about the Lord! Although the Bible is inspired of the Holy Spirit, just think of the wealth of information Mary shared with John. Luke 2:19 and in other several places in the Bible we read that “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” what God had revealed her through angel, prophets, prophetess and by Jesus Himself. The Lord certainly had a specific purpose in putting them together.

John 19: 25 -27: And Standing by the Cross of Jesus his mother, and the sister of his mother, Mary, the wife of Clopas, Mary, the Magdalene and disciple whom he loved. Standing is the witness position. The word for witness in Greek is martyr. A witness is ready to testify whatever the consequences may be, even if he/she has to give his/her own life. This very well-known text is one of the most important Marian passages in Scripture. Mary is present at the foot the Cross, not only as a loving mother, but also as a disciple who follows her Master unto the hour of His exaltation by the Father.

The Apostle John in his Gospel and epistles presents JESUS CHRIST as the SON OF GOD and shows His relationship with heaven. Jesus was truly God, the great I Am, the image of the Father, from eternity, heavenly, and having risen from the dead and ascended on high, lives forever far above all things (John 1:1, 1John 5:20, 1Timothy 6:16, Revelation 19:11-16).

2.6 Our Lord was more concerned with Mary’s spiritual welfare than with either family considerations or economic welfare

John was poor (and no doubt poorer than Jesus’ brothers, for John had been unemployed in the worldly sense for the past three years, living off of donations along with Jesus and the other twelve: cf. Luke.8:3). Our Lord was clearly more concerned with His mother’s spiritual welfare than with either family considerations or economic welfare (and letting His brothers take care of her would have been better on both of these other two counts). For our Lord was concerned that His mother continues in an environment of faith, her eternal life and spiritual growth being even more important to Him than her physical life and financial security. Moreover, we read that the Jesus’ siblings who previously did not believe in Him. They joined Christ’s followers after the resurrection (Acts 1:14). James became a leader in the church at Jerusalem (Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21:18; Galatians 1:19; 2:9, 12 and the epistle of James)

3.0 WHY DID JESUS REVEALED SUCH AN IMPORTANT DECISION AT THE LAST MOMENT?

Since none of the 12 really “got it” before Jesus was crucified and resurrected, it would not have been prudent of our Lord to entrust this responsibility to John before the cross, any more than it would have been fair to expect the charge and responsibility to fully register before John saw Jesus hanging there. There is a proper time and place for everything (Ecclesiastes 8:5-6; cf. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).

4.0 CONCLUSION

We also know that He inaugurated a new concept of the family. Mark 3: 32-35 reveals this concept – A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.” “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does “God’s will” is my brother and sister and mother.” By this incident when He was at the point of death, it could be that He was fulfilling His duty as the eldest son by delegating his care for his mother to one of his trusted brothers in the family of faith.

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