Compared to some of the other, oft-quoted sayings of Jesus on the cross, the one from John 19:26-27 seems less impressive. “’Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, “‘Here is your mother.’” Yet upon further consideration, a lot is happening in this impromptu adoption ceremony.
This is speculation, but the most logical conclusions is that Mary is a widow at this point. And in the ancient world, there is no Social Security or Medicaid. They weren’t a wealthy family, so it’s unlikely Joseph built up a great retirement account before he died. Most widows were dependent on family, and the firstborn son is where that responsibility starts. Also, we know Jesus has siblings, but we don’t know where they are at this point. They might not be in the picture for a while until after they believe.
Whatever the specifics, Jesus knew her need, and because he cannot care for her, he entrusts her to a beloved friend who could. He brings them together as family. John takes her into his home from that time on. And there he can provide physical care. There, they can care for each other during their time of loss.
This is a beautiful picture of care and community that Jesus models as well as creates on the cross. It is especially helpful to keep in mind after our baby dedication. Love of God always must translate into love of others. The cross does more than close the gap between us and God. It connects us to one another, binding us in love and compassion and care.