The heart-broken mother stood weeping at the cross. Little did she think when she had the spectacular visit from Gabriel that life would take such a turn. Three decades earlier the future seemed bright. She had been singled out by the Lord to bring the long-awaited-for Christ into the world. How could she ever forget the night of His birth – when the poor shepherds arrived at the stable or the day the wealthy nobles from the east arrived with costly gifts? As poor as they were in their little Nazareth home, what joy she had as a mother raising her family.

As the years wore on, the relationships in her family deteriorated. Her firstborn Son became the focus of the family break-up. A deep rift occurred. The family unit broke down over Jesus.

Initially, the family members may have been impressed with his miracles. In John 2, after the big wedding, Jesus spent some days in Capernaum with His own family, His mother and some disciples. (John 2:12) But then things turned nasty.

One day, they were so ashamed over the commotion their Jesus was making, they came to take Him away. His mental illness was getting out of hand, they thought. They intended to physically restrain Him, like an Involuntary Committal under the Mental Health legislation.  In Mark 3:21 they alleged:  “He is beside himself” or “He is out of His mind.”  Grandiose Delusional was their diagnosis: delusion of inflated worth, power, knowledge, identity, or special relationship to a famous person.

Little did Mary think her family would end up this way. The heart-broken mother is standing at the Cross. What happened to all her dreams? The future looked so bright a way back then – how could life ever be better? But now she wondered: could life ever be worse than this! Her family divided.

As Jesus hung on a cross, despised and rejected by all – the rest of her family were not there to put their arms around her. A fractured family at the cross. She loved the One on the Cross. She treasured every one of those memories she had carefully stored in her heart over the years. (Luke 2:19,51) But the rest of the family stood with the enemies of Christ, if they were even there.

Listen carefully to what is being said from the Cross just now:

When Jesus 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!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. John 19:25-27

It’s a sad day when the division over Christ is so deep that no son or daughter would stand with their mother to comfort her. It shows how deeply people are divided over Christ – even if it tears their family apart, the hatred is just that deep. The care of Mary was assigned to John – not a family member.

Perhaps your family has been divided over Christ. Maybe you feel like the outcast at those special family gatherings. Don’t stop attending them.

But the very sad story above doesn’t end there. A number in that family turned to Christ for salvation after His resurrection. In Acts 1:14, you find Mary and His siblings (adelphoi) gathering with the others who loved the Lord – the Christians.

Dear child of God, continue to pray for your family. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom in being a faithful witness for Him. What seemed impossible to Mary at the Cross happened later.

Walk carefully and closely with the Lord today.

Warmly in Christ
Peter Ramsay

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