Fellowship of Suffering

“Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple He loved, He said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And He said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.” John 19:25-27

John, three Mary’s and Mary’s sister stood at the foot of the cross. There is a fellowship in suffering. I cannot imagine the shared agony of this small group of people as they watched and heard the suffering and death of Jesus. Others had betrayed Jesus and fled in fear. Others no doubt watched from the shadows from a distance – fearful to be associated with Christ. But John, Jesus’ mother, his aunt and two other Mary’s were right there – not leaving His side in His worst hours. John took care of that which was on Jesus’ heart – to watch over and provide for His mother.

“Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance” (vs. 1) “Mary was standing outside the tomb crying as she wept, she stooped and looked in.” (vs. 11) “Dear woman why are you crying? Jesus asked her. (vs. 15a) “Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to Him and cried out “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for teacher)” (vs. 16)

Mary Magdalene – one who was at the foot of the cross was the one whom Jesus chose to reveal Himself first after He had risen from the dead.

We feel a strong kinship with those who walk with us during a time of suffering. It may not be the words they say, nor a particular action but that they are there.

Being there in presence – being there in non-judgmental support – being there in tender-hearted mercy and compassion…

Like John, the three Mary’s and Mary’s sister, our fellowship of suffering as we surround one who is hurting has great significance. It may be a physical injury or illness – it may be a wound from the battles of life. But our non-judgmental tender-hearted support means much.

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