When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home” (John 19:26-27). Jesus looked at two people he dearly loved and said, “Friend, here’s someone who will love you through this. Sweet Woman, here’s someone to love you through this.”

Jesus is not only the Savior on a cross, the Messiah, the Lamb of God, the Lion of Judah, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings, the one who gave sight to the blind, and made a path for the lame but he was also the baby in the manger as the star shone above him, and the child of the mother who would treasure all these things in her heart.

As he looks down from the cross, I would venture to say the pain on his mother’s face hurt worse than the nails in his own body. Jesus shows us that even when we’re in the middle of our own pain, even when we’re in our darkest moments, even when we’re struggling and hurting, we are here to love others.

Maybe love came naturally to your parents. Maybe they were good at it. Maybe it didn’t and they weren’t. Maybe love comes naturally for you. Or not. The Apostle Paul tells us in Titus that we need to teach each other how to love our families (Titus 2:4). We need to do a better job at learning how to love. Thankfully, Calvary offers a place to lay down our frustrations, grief, and the cycle of not loving well, not only with the world and our daily struggles but the deep secret heartaches we may carry from childhood.

Children, love your parents. Love them regardless of their mistakes. Love them regardless of their brokenness. Love them in spite of the many things they got wrong while raising you. Love them even if you feel they didn’t love you well. Love them well.

Parents, love your children. Love your average children, your below average, and your above average children. Love your faithful child and your prodigal child. Love your easy child and your rebellious child. Love your straight children, your gay children, your loud fussy, temper tantrum, teenage children. Love your three year and your thirty-three year old. Love them regardless of what they look like or how they act. Love them even if you don’t agree with all of their choices. Jesus does.

Church, stop trying to love people into who we want them to be and start loving people for who they are. We have to start loving people the way Christ calls us to. Nobody else is going to do it.

In a few more days, Mary would begin to understand how much this cross matters. In a few more days she will see he didn’t die in vain. In a few more days, this will make a little more sense.

If you struggle with how to love those closest to you, look at the cross and see how Jesus loved those closest to him. Fearlessly. Fiercely. Faithfully.

For every grieving child and grieving parent who stands broken and weary in front of Jesus, just remember, he is returning in a few more days.

Let’s love each other through this while we wait.