ODJ: laying claim

December 13, 2013 

READ: John 19:17-27 

He said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home (v.27).

My mother has developed a habit of occasionally asking us what items we would want once she leaves this earthly existence. Responding with lighthearted humour to her musings on death, my sister and I tell her not to hide any money in the house because we plan on selling it fully furnished when she dies. When I realised the other day that she still had a grapevine wreath my dad and I had made more than 20 years ago, however, I half-jokingly told her to write my name on it.

Anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one knows the heightened tensions that arise among family members when it happens. Feeling the grief of losing someone we love, we lay claim to any remembrance in an attempt to prolong the connection. Sadly, our attempts to hold on to the love of someone who has died can cost us our relationships with the living.

Scripture provides little insight into Mary’s inner thoughts as she witnessed the death of her Son Jesus, but we can well imagine what she felt (John 19:25). Memories tumbling one on top of the other, her mind must have raced in trying to reconcile the son she had loved and raised with the Messiah who had come to save humanity (Luke 2:19,34-35,51).

Mary didn’t even receive His garment as a remembrance of time with Him. She watched as the hands that nailed Jesus to the cross now drew lots to see who would get His belongings (John 19:24; Psalm 22:18). But even as she endured her emotional torment, Jesus offered forgiveness to those who were causing Him unspeakable pain (Luke 23:34). She didn’t lay claim to possessions, but only to the future hope that all those in Jesus now share. —Regina Franklin

Read 1 Thessalonians 4:9-18 and consider how this passage can show us how to interact with others when we’re faced with the death of a loved one. 
If you’ve ever experienced anger at the way others have handled the death of a loved one, what do you believe was at the root of your frustration? What can believers in Jesus lay claim to as they face death?