Take a moment and breathe. Feel the air enter your lungs and experience what it means to be human. It is a simple exercise but I hope that the act will not be lost on you and will remind you of a few truths. First, you are human and you do require oxygen. Second, if you did not have oxygen your life would end. Third, reflect on a time whenever you were not able to “catch your breath” as it were.
Jesus was an innocent man. Where others failed, he succeeded. And even so, Jesus was subjected to injustice. He was detained, tried, and convicted outside of the law. Injustice was not a new experience saved for Jesus, no, it was an old friend who had been around since the garden. Injustice has a name and its name is Satan.
I hate Satan. I’m probably not supposed to say that. If I were a good Christian I would not use such inflammatory language. I would pretend that I love my enemy, but the truth is – I do not. Maybe it's not Satan that I hate, but evil, or rather, dysfunction. I hate the many faces of evil masquerading as something else: Silence, apathy, ignorance, politics, pride, selfishness, and injustice. I hate how crafty, deceiving, and bloodthirsty Satan is. I hate how pervasive the forces of evil are in our rulers and authorities. I hate the darkness. I hate the spiritual forces of evil at work, presently, and in the past. I hate that evil exists in me.
I hate that Satan, the evil rulers, authorities, and spiritual forces rejoiced at the death of my Savior. I hate that he was tried as a criminal, mocked as a king, and hung as an outcast. I hate that Jesus’ mother stood and watched as her son fought for every breath, most likely finding it hard to “catch” hers as well. And I hate that injustice thought it had won that day.
On that day when evil thought it had won, I am reminded of something Jesus said. He turned to his own mother and said “Woman behold, your son!” And then he said to John, “Behold, your mother!” And the scriptures say that “from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
I wonder if Jesus would trust us with his own mother? Would we take her into our home? Would we find reasons why we couldn’t? Would our excuses be as long as the road Jesus walked to Golgotha? It has been reported that John – the disciple whom Jesus loved – was rather young. Would Jesus entrust the life of his mother to a young man? Wasn’t there someone wiser and more advanced that would have been a better fit? Maybe, but they were not there that day at the foot of the cross. Maybe John was too young and dumb to know better, to cower in fear, to hide behind silence, or to claim ignorance. Maybe John was not afraid to stand by Jesus in the face of injustice and evil – peaceful, yes, but bold.
Love won that day; for all of humanity, but also for a mother, a son, and a young Christ-follower. Will love win again? Next time you find it hard to “catch your breath”, remember Jesus’ mother, remember God’s only Son, remember the hundreds of thousands of mothers and sons. Remember Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more. Remember your own children and then ask “what does it look like to meet Jesus at the foot of the cross?” Ask “what kind of disciple am I? Am I a Nicodemus, a Peter, a Judas, or a John?”