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Why did Jesus leave Mary in John’s care?

It is believed that Mary had sons and daughters. So why did Jesus leave her to John, saying she is your mother?

You are referring to John 19:26, 27 which says: “When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

John will take care of Mary

The reason that Jesus left his mother in the care of John and not in the care of one of his siblings, is probably because none of his brothers believed in Him at that point of time. Later on his brothers James (Galatians 1:19) and Jude (Jude 1:1) would acknowledge Him as Saviour (Jude 1:1) and probably his other brothers as well (1 Corinthians 9:5).

But when Jesus hung on the cross, the man spiritually closest to Jesus and to Mary must have been John. John was the disciple whom Jesus loved (John:13:23; 20:2; 21:7; 21:20). We can see here that the Lord valued spiritual kinship over biological kinship.

The aunt of Jesus

Having said this, Jesus and John were actually in all probability cousins. So Jesus was still entrusting his mother to a relative, albeit less close family than his own brothers. When Jesus hung on the cross, several women were watching. Mark 15:40 lists Mary Magdalene, another Mary and a woman called Salome. In John 19:25 this woman Salome is referred to as Jesus’ mother’s sister, so Jesus’ aunt. Then in Matthew 27:56 Salome is called the mother of Zebedee’s children, in other words, the mother of John and James, who were Zebedee’s sons (Matthew 4:21).

It is an interesting detail that in John 19:25 the women are listed who stood by the cross, including John’s mother Salome. One verse later, Jesus entrusted his mother to John’s care, in the very presence of John’s mother and Jesus’ aunt.

John’s spiritual maturity

John must have been rather poor considering the fact that he had been (mostly) unemployed during the past three years. After all, he had been following Christ. Still, he must have had enough means to care for Mary. Jesus must have valued John’s spiritual maturity over his material possessions.

Jesus’ entrusting act of his mother to John’s care once again gives us insight into his deep love and concern for others, even when He Himself was in terrible agony. He saw the raw pain in his mother’s eyes, the sword that pierced her soul, and he provided for her in great wisdom and love by selecting the disciple who had always been the most loving one of the whole group.

How does this Bible passage speak to you? Please share your thoughts below!

Also read What is spiritual growth?

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Esther Visser

Esther Visser

Esther Visser (1972) was raised in Waddinxveen. She did a 2-year masters degree at Tyndale Theological Seminary in Badhoevedorp, to prepare for the mission field. In 2000 her husband and she were sent to Thailand as church planters, in cooperation with OMF and GZB. They lived and worked there for 15 years, together with their two children. At this time Esther is editor-in-chief for De Waarheidsvriend, the house magazine of the Gereformeerde Bond. She is also active in church life, as a youth worker, and as an artist.

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