19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
It is no secret that the cultures of the Bible were for the most part dominated by men. There were a few rare moments when a woman stepped out of the shadows but they were largely seen as and treated as the property of men.
Then along came Jesus. Remember Jesus' radical statement "If you have seen Me, you have seen God." With that point of reference then, God's view of women is not to be determined by how His followers treated women but rather by how Jesus treated them.
Here He is dying and three women are right there, all acknowledged and mentioned by name. In fact if you carefully comb through the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John you will find women following Jesus, women healed by Jesus, women respected by Jesus, and even women touching Jesus. To understand how radical that all was you gave to understand the culture of the time. When genealogies are recorded it was always a list of fathers and sons. When Jesus was born it was the first time in Biblical history that women were mentioned in a genealogy. His unusual treatment of women continued through His adult life. In the culture women were essentially property owned by their fathers and then sold to their husbands. They had no right to own anything. They had no voice.
It wasn't supposed to be that way. God created Adam and Eve as equals. It was because Eve sinned first that God declared one of the consequences would be that women and men would see women as less. Even in what we consider the civilized West women have only been able to vote for about 100 years. In Quebec women weren't able to vote until 1941.
It is imperative to understand that at the time of Jesus women were nameless, faceless people who existed to make babies and serve men. But Jesus saw them. He talked to them. He knew their names. He allowed Himself to be touched by them, even sick "unclean" ones or women of low or no reputation morally. He risked His own reputation to show God’s love and concern for them.
Now here on the cross about to die John says His final act was to look down and ensure his mother would be cared for. It seems a small thing to us but it was not. How many times does God chastise His people all through Scripture for ignoring the needs of the widows. These women were the most vulnerable in society. Used property. No one wanted them and they had no means legally to support themselves no matter how skilled they were. The church had even created a law making it religiously acceptable for children to ignore their aging parents needs. All they had to do was promise their cash to the church at death and this freed them from any financial responsibility to their parents.
Jesus knew He was leaving and would not be here to care for His mother so in an act of love and as an example to us all He saved His last act of compassion for His mother. He didn't just give her money either. He gave her a person to care for for her because we need human love as much as we need food and water and air.
Jesus. If you have seen Him you have seen God. No matter how forgotten you may feel He knows you. He knows your name.