Jesus In Our Homes | James Stevenson

John 19:25-27

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

John 19.25-27

Jesus, an innocent man, suffered a brutal death on the Cross and he did so as our substitute.

He died our death, taking on the consequences of our behaviour. And he lived the life we couldn’t manage ourselves, even speaking words of life when in excruciating agony on the cross. He gave up his identity as the Son of God so we could have the right to that new identity as God’s children.

Today, like a substitute in a football team, Jesus waits on the sidelines of our lives, so that day by day he can come on. When we place our faith in him, he sends his Spirit to live in us, so that the one who lived the life that we could never live, lives it in us. As St Paul wrote: ‘if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!’

Today being Mothering Sunday, we are very aware of the many people who find it hard or too painful to celebrate this day, and of the epidemic of loneliness in our society. Almost 5,000 older people in this country see no-one for several days at a time, every week, and loneliness is even more prevalent amongst the young than the old.

Jesus’ words to Mary and John resonate down the centuries: hardwiring hospitality into the life of the Church for ever. Mary and John were significant leaders in the first church in Jerusalem, and from its earliest days Christians shared their homes and their food with each other. The foundation of this relationship and how it was formed by Christ enabled the multiplication of the early Church. The healthy culture of mutual hospitality enabled the Church to grow. And what an antidote to loneliness this could be!

A Christian opening his or her home to others will immediately face the questions ‘How Christian am I? - How patient and forgiving will I be? - How will I respond to new challenges?’ Sharing our homes or our meals with others, we need to die a death to our own selfishness every day, letting the one who was our substitute on the Cross also be our substitute in our homes. So that in those difficult moments, like when someone burns our toast, we remember whose we are and who died for us, and we live into that identity as children of the living God. And knowing how much God has forgiven us, we forgive the person who has taken too long in the shower or broken our favourite mug.

Others might not see it but we know it. The biggest growth point as a disciple can be sharing one’s home with others: learning how to live as a child of God, die a death and live a new life every day.

So much of this is happening already but God is inviting us to push on for more – to be like Mary and John, and form the foundation of a new humanity, alongside many other Christians throughout our city. As we share our homes and our lives, we can build a church that has an impact on society and plays its part in combatting the epidemic of loneliness.

James Stevenson