“Woman behold your son”
September 4 that year so long ago was a date I will never forget. It happens to be the birthday of my younger sister but that is not what I recall so vividly. In late August the specialist had told me, my brother, sister and mother that my 81 year old Dad only had a year or so to live. The others said they could not tell Dad the news and so I was elected to do it.
On September 1 we had brought him down from his cottage by ambulance as he had gone into third degree heart block and was completely disoriented. He did not know any of us the first couple of days. When I walked into his room that dark September 4 he looked with recognition at me. I asked him if he knew who I was and he responded that he did. Then I asked him if he knew where he was and he responded that he was in the hospital but did not know how he got there. Briefly I told him what had happened at the cottage days earlier.
I knew I had to pass on the unhappy news to him right then. I took his gnarled right hand in mine and sought to explain as simply and gently as possible what his medical status really was. I indicated the disease had spread beyond surgical intervention and that no aggressive chemotherapy could be administered as his heart was too weak.
My father instantly got the message. His left hand came across and grabbed my wrist. He looked at me and began to say over and over, “Promise me son, promise me son.” I did not have the slightest idea what he was talking about so I asked him what he wanted from me.
His statement caused me to realise that this would be a defining moment in my life. What he said was, “Promise me son that when I am gone you will take care of your mother.” You could have knocked me over with a feather. My Dad had gone from what I had said about his situation to immediately thinking of his wife and what would happen to her in his absence.
Apparently he was not going to let his own death stand in the way of caring for his beloved wife. He would make certain she was in loving hands when his time with her was done. That day my Dad acted like Jesus did at the cross. In the Gospel story we see Jesus, about to die on the cross, committing his mother into the care of one of his disciples.
Do you see how remarkable Jesus is in caring for His own people? Even His death on the cross would not stop Him from fulfilling His responsibilities to His mother. If Jesus was so meticulous in the details of Mary’s care can you not trust Him to see to all your needs today? He rose from the dead in order to guarantee the benefits He bought for His people. If you belong to Jesus you will never find that He leaves you in the lurch.
Jesus cares for His own much better than any of us can care for our own loved ones. If you belong to Him His love will follow you all the way through life until you reach your home in heaven. Jesus promised to keep His people and rest assured He will.