See Scriptures Below

(The plan was that a handful of my 2015 Lenten devotionals would come from older, largely unread blogs. This one I wrote four years ago still shakes me up…)

John, my namesake, stood there with the women. Often the point made by this fact is that everyone abandoned him, at least all the men, all His followers, His official, named disciples. John records his presence at the crucifixion in the gospel he wrote. He refers to himself simply as the “disciple whom He loved.” Other accounts don’t mention him.

Matthew 27:55-56
Many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee while ministering to Him. Among them was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Mark 15:40-41
There were also some women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses, and Salome. When He was in Galilee, they used to follow Him and minister to Him; and there were many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem.

John 19:25b-27
But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus then 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!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.

Women gathered to tend to Jesus in death. It is touching and was brave, however, aside from His Heavenly Father and the redeemed thief, who else did Jesus personally address? I think it was only His mother and His… friend. In the midst of struggle and conflict, the likes of which defy imagination, Jesus wanted to take care of people He had loved on earth. In fact, relationship meant so much to Him that He added to the creation of a deeper one even from the Cross. He said of His disciple who was His friend, “Now you are my brother, son of the same mother.”

There is something Jesus is teaching us here that many of us miss.

Friendship, if we dare face the truth, is a missing part of most of our lives. We rise to the level of warm, caring coexistence, but Jesus is showing something different from this. If He taught this from the Cross, and we’re missing it, just how much are we missing? He did not live or die without friendship. His heartfelt offer to His disciples was His friendship. (See John 15.) Why have so many of us chosen to live without this? We have a built a world with Facebook and Twitter and the like, a world filled with walls keeping friendship out by replacing it with counterfeits.

Still, Jesus’ offer stands. “Be my friend. Be a friend to others in my Name.” Amazing.

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