Day 13, March 18

“Dear woman, here is your son; here is your mother.” –John 19:26–27

Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:25–27 NLT)

The origin of the word excruciating comes from the Latin root, crux, as in cross. Death by crucifixion is so painful that a word was created just to describe the level of pain. In the case of the crucifixion of Jesus, add to this normal level of pain: flogging with a lead-tipped whip, a crown of thorns pressed into His skull, and wounds covered with a robe and then reopened when the robe is removed, as well as the mental anguish of being abandoned or betrayed by His closest friends and the spiritual anguish of bearing the sins of the world. Despite all of this, Jesus was not only aware enough to see his mother and closest friend, He still took time to care for them, instructing them to care for and comfort one another during this time and in the weeks and years to come.

Oftentimes, an idea in abstract is easier to grasp than when it is applied to a specific instance. The character of Linus from the comic strip Peanuts famously said, “I love mankind . . . it’s people I can’t stand!” Because we as people so often fall prey to this same thought pattern, we can sometimes attribute this same flaw to the God of creation. Yet, God doesn’t just love us in the abstract; He knows us deeply, intimately even, and He cares for us with a far greater passion than any we could conceive. Sing praise to the God of the universe who loves us and cares for us even down to the ordinary, everyday details of our lives.