“Woman behold your son.
…behold your mother.”
This word “behold” comes from
the Greek word βλέπω — I see.
The word from βλέπω — as it appears in the text
means see in the deepest sense.
It means discover or perceive, or take careful notice —
as though you had not seen it before.
Look beyond the “obvious” and superficial.
It is the call to relationship beyond the din
of ordinary cultural or religious ideas
bound by rules, and policies that box us up in sin.
It is a call beyond human use, and abuse of one another
— beyond entrenched stereotypes, prejudice, stigma, and demonization
that worships Father and abuses the Mother.
Such relationship of trust with woman was not the norm in Jesus’ day
But here at the cross, he shows — it is the way.
The request is not only to the woman.
It is also to the “son”
Take notice of your son,
Take notice of your mother
“I am yours and you are mine.”
Look upon Jesus’ face
Call upon Jesus’ name
Then Look upon the neighbor’s face — of every race
To love that one — it is the same
Woman behold your son
Your seed still lives
in humanity thirsting to be free
“The least you do to one of these
you do it unto me”
“Mary, don’t you weep, Mary, don’t you mourn.”
Woman, don’t weep, woman don’t mourn
The wrath of hell unleashed on you,
who bears that cross unseen unknown.
Enmity between your seed and the seed of hell
defines humanity held under the serpent’s spell.
“Woman behold your son”
This is the story of humanity
yearning to be free
from hate and fear and hostility.
This wrath of hell, God did describe;
the serpent still at war with the woman and her seed.
Ah the serpent has bruised his heel
But now awaits the fatal blow upon the serpent’s head
It will not happen — by distorted scriptural texts,
not with blazing guns, and burning crosses
not by might of empire or shouts of righteous triumph.
No — that fatal blow — upon his head — does come,
but by one clear word — hope — hope
“Woman behold your son”
Your son still lives
On that dismal day, on a hill far away
when all the agents of hell and those who feared had fled
there still stood — the woman and her seed — heel bruised
upon a rugged cross
— all of those standing there — women
to perform his last rite of passage from this world.
As she brought him in, so she prepares to send him home.
“Leave her alone, she prepares me for my burial”
Mary, Mary, don’t weep don’t mourn — your seed still lives
Behold your son!
The Fourth Gospel tell us this:
“…standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the Wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother. “Woman, behold your son.” And to the disciple he said, behold your mother.”
Only women named here at the cross
That story at the cross that day
is the story of ideal humanity rejected — abandoned
of Justice bleeding on a tree
pierced by swords of empty religiosity
That call to the woman and her seed
echoes from the dawn of time
“Woman behold your son…
behold your mother”
This is the call to nurture that ideal humanity
Free of brutality.
Who is the disciple whom Jesus loves?
Does it matter? Yes, it does.
It is the story of friendship and trust.
Who does Jesus trust to carry on this work?
Can Jesus trust us with each other?
The Fourth Gospel is the only Gospel that records this scene at the cross.
It is also the only Gospel that speaks of the beloved disciple.
According to John 11:5, There were three siblings beloved by Jesus
Martha, Mary, and Lazarus
Nowhere else do the gospels speak of a “beloved” disciple.
Of those three — only Mary stood among those named at the cross.
We have heard that John is the beloved disciple.
That is mere tradition,
It is not gospel fact.
In John 21:24, it says that it is the beloved disciple that has written that gospel.
But who wrote the Fourth Gospel?
That we do not know.
All the four gospels, they are anonymous
On them, no name was ever signed.
This invalidates them NOT.
Inspiration lies not in a human name
but in the Word itself — Love
— the hope to be what must be
in a world that cannot see —
the true nature of humanity
— seed of hope — hope
— women standing at that cross
— woman in the wilderness — her child upon her chest
Mary, Mary — it is she to whom the word was trust
— Resurrection — hope!
the woman and her seed struggles to be seen
Be known be heard
Above the noise of religion, culture and ideology.
Mary, don’t weep
you who bear that cross unseen, unknown.
Your child though banished to the
wild — your seed still lives
waiting to be heard.
“Behold your son — behold your mother.”
Whoever the beloved be
this is the story of ideal humanity.
Seed of hope — hope
Resurrection — hope
she bears within her breast.
Love though cast down — it cannot die
Woman behold your son
Your son still lives — waiting
for us to see, for us to hear.
Drive those nails in my hand — I still live
Woman behold your seed!
Who will take this word
to places where it’s hardly heard,
where subtle lies parade in robes of truth
— truth — lost — true humanity — abandoned
in the struggle from supremacy.
2,000 years hence — the woman and her son still scorned
still scorned with
Bible thumping, swastika raising, crosses blazing
with guns in hand they say: “let’s pray.”
But — Woman and her offspring — true humanity
— advocate for justice for the least of these — still lynched, still brutalized
— Still hope — still hope —
For God has said
“the seed shall bruise his head.”
Hope — hope — true humanity
Behold your seed, behold your mother
Olive Hemmings is professor of religion at Washington Adventist University.
Photo by ilham akbar fauzi on Unsplash
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