Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

John 19:26-27 states, “When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold your son!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold your mother!’ And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.”

Here we see Jesus: drenched in his own blood, with his skin ripped to the bone in places from the 39 cat-of-nine-tail lashes He received. With nails through his wrists and feet and a crown of thorns cutting into his head, he glanced down to people at the foot of His Cross. He saw not the 5000 men he had fed by the Sea of Galilee, nor even his 12 disciples.

But there, beside his mother Mary, was one of the twelve: John, the youngest of all, who was about 18 years old.

What we see here is that Jesus entrusted his beloved mother to John. This is very interesting because Jesus had many brothers and sisters of his own. The difference was that John went to the Cross.

In Matthew 12:48 Jesus said, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers? Whoever does the will of My Father in Heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” We see this lived out at the foot of the Cross, as Jesus entrusts Mary to John.

As it was Jesus’ love for us that kept Him on the Cross, it was John’s love for the Lord that brought him to the Cross. In 1 John 4, John wrote, “We love because He first loved us.” John is known as “the disciple of love”, and he referred to himself in scripture as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. John knew God’s love and was therefore able to give God’s love.

In our own lives, we often have many friends around us when things are going great. But when trials enter our lives, we can be taken by surprise by those who disappear. It is a painful yet invaluable lesson to learn, for genuine love and loyalty are tested and proven through hardship.

So, where were the other disciples during the Crucifixion? What is it that kept them from the Cross?

More importantly: what is it that keeps us from coming to the Cross?

Is it fear of the unknown? Or the fear of losing things we deem valuable? A fear of change? Or perhaps, a fear of being ridiculed, rejected, or misjudged by others?

What is it that keeps us from the Cross—from the full, complete trust that Jesus knows what is truly best for our lives—from complete trust that anything He sends our way will be good for us and for His Kingdom—from complete trust that anything He withholds from us, or asks us to let go of, is not good for us to have?

Is it fear that keeps us from fully committing our lives to the One who gave His life for us?

John—the disciple of love, the one who was not afraid to be seen at the foot of the Cross—is the apostle who wrote, “perfect love casts out fear.” He also wrote “he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

God tells us 365 times in the Bible “do not fear.” Fear is one of Satan’s greatest weapons. It can immobilize us. It can keep us from God’s best—if we let it. It can keep us from coming to the Cross and laying down the things he asks of us. Fear can keep us from receiving the many blessings the Lord wants to bestow upon us.

As we see Jesus entrust His precious mother to John, what does that show us?

When we come to the Cross of Christ, The Lord entrusts us with what is important to Him.

When we remain at the Cross—even at times when everything around us is falling apart, times when it would be so easy to get mad at God and turn away from Him—when we remain there, the Lord comforts, guides, and instructs us through the words He speaks and the love He gives His believers for one another.

So, as we look toward the Cross this Easter weekend, I pray that God gives each of us a deeper understanding of His love—which is best demonstrated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Written by Stacy Padula 4/6/12

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