I wonder if you can think of a moment when someone stood by you? The affirmation and support you received in that moment hopefully gave you comfort and encouragement to keep going.

I recently spoke at a Church where a women on the leadership team prayed consistently for me all the way through my preach and, whenever I caught her eye and saw her lips moving in prayer, she would give me the broadest of smiles. You can imagine the incredible boost this gave me and, when thanking her after the service, I discovered she does this for every speaker – every week. Wow! When I asked her why she does this, she simply replied, “…because it’s my way of standing with you.”

This below bible verse captures the powerful, poignant moment where these amazing women in the gospel story made a choice to stand with Jesus in the midst of the agony of his crucifixion. This particular moment is only captured in John’s gospel. As Jesus draws closer to death, the three Mary’s (his mother, his mother’s sister, and Mary Magdalene) and the disciple John, draw close to the cross.

“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”
John 19:25

Despite their own grief and agony, they refused to walk away, but chose community and companionship with Jesus in his most darkest of moments. The example of their boldness and bravery, mixed with sadness and heartache, was a witness to many and – no doubt – an encouragement to Jesus. Even Jesus needed the company of friends and family. Nobody should ever stand alone. Particularly when they’re suffering.

The example of these four people should encourage, inspire and challenge each of us to look for similar moments to stand by the cross.

We stand by the Cross to remember what Jesus has done, giving thanks for the wonder of this sacrifice that saved us, and giving Him first place as the leadership of our lives.

We stand by the Cross in our commitment to community, refusing to walk or turn away, but leaning in with compassion and kindness to walk through life’s battles together.

We stand by the Cross to remember our call to disciple, as Jesus found John trustworthy and reliable, so may Jesus find us trustworthy and reliable to nurture the lives of those around us.

Who might Jesus be inviting you to stand with, and stand by?

Who is He asking you to reach out to, in order to draw them closer to himself?

May the Holy Spirit show us, through the inspiration of this story, the importance of being present in the pain of others, as we follow the whispering direction of Jesus.