Tuesday, June 15

Thoughts on Jesus’ Mother

Jesus' Family
Jesus' Family


Today I was pondering Jesus' family.  We know his father, Joseph and his mother, Mary.  We are also told he had four brothers:  James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas and that he had sisters.  Unnamed, unnumbered, and unknown.  But that is a topic for another day.  (Mt 13:55)

I was also pondering the episode when Jesus, from the cross, tells his mother, "Woman, here is your son" to the disciple that Jesus loved (Jn 19:26).

Mary Magdalene and Mary, Mother of Jesus
Mary Magdalene and Mary, Mother of Jesus by Barbara Taylor Aiken at acorn.net/cpsadc101/aiken.htm

I would assume that in Ancient Judaism, the mother would be "passed" to the eldest son upon the death of the father and successive sons. That would mean that Mary would be the responsibility of Joseph.  Assuming that Joseph would name his "first born" after himself.  We do know that Joseph exists because he comes up in later stories during all the arguments about whether gentiles need to convert fully to Judaism.  So technically, Mary is Joseph's responsibility.

So this story is not about taking responsibility for Mary.  It is about something more.  And about someone more.  The beloved disciple, labeled him, is it really a him?  Standing near the cross is Mary-Clopas' wife, Mary Magdalene, and Jesus' mother.  Nobody else is named.  Only those three.  If the precious beloved disciple were not included in this three, why wouldn't "he*" be mentioned?  What if this story is about passing on apostolic authority?  Who would be the recipient?  How about Mary Magdalene, the one later to find the empty cave and specifically sent by Jesus to the disciples? Not only specifically sent, but the only one specifically sent by Jesus in the Gospel of John.

I know that there are a lot of very scholarly articles and thoughts arguing many sides of this issue.  But I'm going to hold onto this thought for today.


*There are a lot of reasons that early translators and interpreters would want the beloved disciple to be a "he."  We can have a conversation about sexism in the Bible on another day!


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