Promise Me

“Honor your father and your mother,
so that your days may be prolonged
on the land which the Lord your God gives you.
Exodus 20:12 (NASB)

“Now beside the cross of Jesus stood His mother,
His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 
So when Jesus saw His mother,
and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby,
He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ 
Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ 
And from that hour the disciple
took her into his own household.”
John 19:25-27 (NASB)

I recall the scene vividly even though it was 40 years ago. I sat by the hospital bed where my 81 year old father lay dying. I had watched him for many years first as a child and then as an adult as he adored my mother in many ways. I learned much about being a faithful husband from that dear man. Now I was about to tell him he would soon leave us for heaven.

As soon as he understood what I had said he repeated the words, “Promise me, promise me.” Then he added the words, “Promise me that when I’m gone you will take care of your mother.”

I was amazed that he could get past the news of leaving for heaven to the realization his beloved wife of 50 years would need someone to care for her, and who better than their son. I quickly reassured him I would step up to the task willingly.

That day my father acted like his Saviour. As the eldest son Jesus was charged with the care of his widowed mother. It is remarkable that our Lord fulfilled that Jewish tradition to His dying moment and only then made someone else responsible for Mary’s care.

What devotion! What attention to detail! Should we not feel safe in the hands of our loving Master? He Who loved us so much He suffered and died for us must be embraced by those for whom He died.

Let all doubts be swept aside as we stand at the foot of the cross and hear our beloved Lord and Saviour uttering such loving words while fulfilling His family duties for his deceased father and living mother.

If a tired, dying old man could make sure his beloved wife would be cared for after he died, how much more will the sovereign Lord of all creation faithfully attend to those for whom He died and rose again?

May this tender act of Mary’s loving Son inspire you to be at peace with your present trial knowing you are being lovingly cared for by the One Who will come soon enough to take you home to the Celestial City where tears and trials are all in the past and joy and glory will be ours forever.

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