I felt Jesus whispering that sweet word on February 4, 2004 as my son Chris presented my infant grandson Noah to his waiting grandparents. The words “Yes, Lord but…” never entered my mind as I stretched out my arms to cradle this long awaited child. Other times, the word “behold’ caries with it duties I’m not always sure I want to fulfill.
Jesus uses “behold” several times in the scriptures. As He was dying on the cross, He offered us seven valuable lessons. Today’s lesson is about caring for one another. Knowing that His mother was probably the one person suffering worse than He, Jesus looked at her and said, “Behold,” as He offered her a son to care for her in her old age. He then turned to a beloved disciple, whom we believe to be John, and said, “Behold,” as he assigned him the honor of caring for Jesus’ beloved mother.
Read John 19:26-27
When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. KJV
• Share Jesus’ compassion as He cared for his mother while suffering gravely.
• Listen as the Lord says, “Behold…”
• Ask compassionate Jesus what your assignment is for today.
• Tell God your joys, fears, and needs. Praise Him in everything.
• Pray for knowledge of God’s will for you today and the power to carry that out.
• Ask the Holy Spirit to interpret the scriptures you are about to read.
Morning Bible Study
I’ve always told my children that their home is where they are and their family is who they’re with. I wanted to insure that no matter with whom or where they were, they always felt a part of something. I longed to teach them that earthly families are temporal and God’s family is forever. That was tested for me when my husband took a job 2000 miles from my earthly family.
A natural human tendency is to cling to earthly families. We’re tempted to give them the majority of our time as we make them the focus of our earthly existence. What happens when we lose every member of our earthly family? Are we without family? Is there no one to care for and love us?
In the book of Ruth, we meet Naomi at the darkest time of her life. She had lost her husband and sons and was sending her son’s wives back to their families.
Read Ruth 1:8.
And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. KJV
• How had her daughters-in-law treated her?
One of the women kissed Naomi goodbye and left. The other refused.
Read Ruth 1:16.
And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: KJV
• What promises did Ruth make?
• Whom did Ruth consider her family?
• How had Naomi influenced Ruth’s spiritual life?
Ruth stayed with Naomi and cared for her. Together, they traveled to Naomi’s home, Bethlehem where they sought out Naomi’s relative, Boaz. In one of the most romantic stories ever written, Boaz and Ruth married. Give yourself a gift and read the short book of Ruth. When Ruth and Boaz had a son, Ruth offered the child to Grandma Naomi. Can’t you just hear the words of God’s whisper to Naomi, “Woman behold, your grandson.”
Read Ruth 4:13-16.
So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son. And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him. And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. KJV
• How did Ruth care for Naomi?
• What rewards did they each experience?
If we do the will of God, we are never without family. Read Matthew 12:47-50.
Someone said to Him, "Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You."
But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, "Who is My mother and who are My brothers?" And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, "Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother”. NASU
What an honor it is to be brother, sister, or mother to Jesus but this honor also carries responsibility. Read John 21:17.
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. KJV
• What were Jesus’ instructions to Peter?
• How do we demonstrate our love to Jesus?
When we care for Jesus’ sheep, we care for Him. Read Matthew 25:40.
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. KJV
Every act of generosity to the world, every kindness we pay to a neighbor, we do for our family member, Jesus. Every lonely, broken person is a sheep of Jesus. Every opportunity of service is Jesus saying, “Behold!” Can you walk by Jesus today and ignore Him?
Susan and Fred never had children but they cared for Susan’s mother up until the day she died. “My mom is my child,” Susan often joked. When Susan’s mother died, Susan clung to Fred as she looked for her new purpose in life. Unfortunately, Fred had a heart attack and in a few short weeks, he too was dead. Susan was like a lost child without Fred but her nightmare wasn’t over. Her brother and his wife both died a few weeks apart. Over the period of a year, Susan lost every member of her earthly family.
“I’ve lost everyone,” Susan cried to anyone who would listen. “I have no one left.” God heard her cries, looked at a friend, and said, “Behold!” The friend held Susan as she cried and helped her handle the business affairs involved with so many deaths. This friend became the executor of Susan’s estate and her lifeline to sanity.
Another friend heard the words “Behold” and moved in with Susan, offering companionship. Other friends responded to the call of God by surrounding her with love. Now, wherever Susan goes, people encircle her, responding to the words, “Behold.” Slowly, Susan responded to the word “Behold,” and accepted the love of her new family.
How do you think Mary responded to behold? Her season of grief was beginning. When it passed, was she able to enjoy the gift given or did she cling to the grief and spoil the gift? I suspect that when her tears dried, she relaxed into the gift and praised God for it.
As you go through your day, listen for the word, “Behold.” If God offers you a gift, accept it. If God offers to make you a gift to others, accept His honor. Look for your gifts in the middle of suffering. Be a gift to someone during their suffering. Be a mother, brother, and sister to Jesus and feed His sheep.