Support the Weak (John #72)

Text: John 19:25-27

The theme of these three verses is summed up in three words, support the weak.  Think about what’s happening here.  Mary, the Lord’s mother, is there to support her son and care for him.  The women are at the cross to support the Lord and just as much so to support Mary, Jesus’ mother. The Lord Jesus Christ is concerned Mary, his mother, will not have support in her older age to care for herself.  He directly instructs John to provide support and instructs his mother to accept the support of John.  All of this while the Lord Jesus Christ is dying on the cross to bring divine support for the sinner that is dead in his sins.  At every turn in these three verses the idea of supporting the weak is exemplified.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 …support the weak…

Blessedness of support

  • Now there stood by the cross of Jesus…
    • Most of the disciples at this point weren’t hanging around the cross because they were afraid of the consequences.  It wasn’t so with these ladies.
    • Fear, in this case, is the reason not to support the weak
  • Perfect love casteth out fear
    • People afraid that support will cost them something.
    • Notice these ladies stood (vs 25) and John is also standing (vs 26)
  • You must have a desire to stand. (We’ll look at this one more on the next point)
  • You must have the ability to stand.
    • Prayerlessness leads to fall
    • Lack of Bible knowledge leads to a fall
    • Lack of love because of fear leads to a fall
  • However small you think the stand is, others will be encouraged by it.
    • Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (pg 399-400) – 11 men and 2 women in one fire.
    • Saul watching Stephen stoned to death can’t get it out of his mind.  That stand, not just of Stephen, but all martyrs Paul killed would convict and drive him to serve the Lord with fervency unlike any other.  He said of sinners he is chief and he meant it.

Support with the right motive

  • Four ladies who had arrived at the cross with four different backgrounds, but all with legitimate reasons for being at the cross for support
  • …his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
  • Support for the wrong reason
    • Need to be needed
      • You can keep someone in an unhealthy state so you’ll be able to stay needed.
      • Sometimes folks put themselves in a support structure because they like the feeling of being needed.  That can be unhealthy.
      • Support can’t become dependence when the other party can move on from the support.
    • Feelings of absolute guilt.
      • This can lead to an unhealthy entanglement of support that begins to drain other people around you.  The guilt doesn’t go away, but you sever good relationships one by one trying not to feel guilty for something you aren’t responsible.
      • Children, grandchildren, family, real friends are forced into a situation that divides the family.
    • Support for the right reason
      • The need was real
      • Their love was real – Love of a mother, friend, disciple, and the redeemed
      • Their opportunity was real

Support when there is real opportunity

  • When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved…
  • The Lord on the cross looks at his mother and sees an immediate need.  Then looks at John and sees an immediate solution.  This makes an opportunity.
  • Why didn’t the Lord Jesus Christ ask Peter to care for Mary?  Because Peter wasn’t there.  Why not ask Thomas to care for Mary?  Because Thomas isn’t there.  Why not ask James to care for Mary?  Because James isn’t there.
    • The point of a crutch is to use in place of a healthy leg until the leg can get healthy.
    • So when you face a genuine opportunity to help, don’t get angry that the opportunity has been set in front of you.  Be careful about that spirit that says, well no one else is doing anything.  By the grace of God, be a leader instead of excusing yourself from the work.  You’d be no different than those you find fault with if you excuse yourself too.
    • Proverbs 3:27 Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.
      • Not everyone is due.
      • And you don’t always have the power to do anything about it even if they are due.
      • But if those two things meet at your doorstep, then the principle applies.
    • James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
  • Christian, not accepting your own weakness is just as dangerous.  You’ll skip out on the things you actually need because you think you can handle more than you can handle.

Support must be mutual

  • Jesus says, Behold thy son! And to John he says, Behold thy mother!  Dealing with two people and their willingness to be a help and to be helped.
  • When support is not mutually agreed, then there is no help to give.
    • Some folks refuse to be a help though they know they should.
    • Some folks just refuse to be helped though they need it.
  • The Lord puts some high expectations on John
    • Home care can be difficult enough when it is your own family, but what if it’s not?
    • Even if it’s someone you love, it’s going to get old.
  • And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
    • Support is best administered with clear guidelines, responsibilities, expectations, and an end in sight.
  • John accepts responsibility
    • first of all because he loves the Lord Jesus Christ.
    • Second, because he loved the people the Lord Jesus Christ loved.
    • Third, there was clear instruction to all involved.

Support of the sinner by the Savior

  • Finally, remember where you are in this scripture.  You’re at the cross where Jesus Christ became weak in order that you could made strong.
  • I find in this scripture Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, is like the saved sinner.
  • Jesus Christ secures in his death for his mother an adoption, a home, loving provision, and comfort.
    • Support must be mutual.  Jesus Christ has already proven He’s agreed to save you by dying for you.  The thing that stands between your home in heaven is agreeing with the Lord Jesus Christ that you need to be saved from your sins.
    • In her weakness that the Lord Jesus Christ secured those things for her!