John 19:26–27 (NIV)
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.

Roman Catholics interpret this verse as referring to Jesus entrusting her mother to be the mother of the church in the person of John.What is the explanation of Born Again Christians about this Johannine passage? Is Mary Our Mother? http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/preview.aspx?id=238

2 Answers 2


Behold thy mother: What Does Jesus Mean By Such Utterance in John 19:26-27?

The teaching of the Roman Catholic church that Jesus entrusted his physical mother as the spiritual mother of the church is unfounded in these texts. In fact, that sort of interpretation is out of context.

Jesus entrusted his mother to the care of John (John 19:26,27).

Jesus did not entrust his mother to his siblings/ relatives because these were still unbelievers at that moment of Christ’s crucifixion (John 7:1-5).

Christians care for widows ( James 1:27).

Jesus considered not only his mother’s physical needs but also his spiritual needs when he entrusted his mother to the care of John.

Jesus did not give Mary to the church as its mother is evident in the other New Testament Scripture.

For Paul, the church/ Jerusalem is our mother:

But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother (Galatians 4:26). But we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. (1 Thessalonians 2:7).

For Paul, it is not Jesus’ mother who has been a mother to him:

Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too(Romans 16:13).

Jesus himself refers to the church as his mother in the spiritual sense.He is telling us that blood relations are not what is important. It doesn’t matter if you are a relative of Jesus - as if that were something to boast about. . What is important is to hear the Word of God and obey.

"Who are my mother and my brothers?" he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother." (Mark 3:33-35)

While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” (Luke 11:27,28)


Jesus didn’t give his mom to be the mom of his church in John 19:26,27 for the context does not permit it. In reality, the first-century church does not give any evidence that Mary functioned as a mom to the entire church.

  • Until you realize that Christ is the New Adam. And that, making her "the mother of all the living" in Christ is no different than Eve who, though mother of all, gave birth to only a few sons who wouldthen go on to give birth to the rest by procreation—but Mary via the Apostles and preaching, would become mother of "the rest of her seed," as well as being the mother of the Head of the Body, and of "his brethren" which makes her our mother. "Blessed, rather, are they who hear the word of God and keep it." If anyone done this, it was obedient Mary, "the handmaid of the Lord." Jul 21, 2018 at 22:19
  • The multiplicity of references to different entities seen as mother prove they are not exclusive, and thus aren't an argument against the motherhood of Mary of Jesus' brethren, His disciples. Jul 21, 2018 at 22:20
  • one problem I never hear addressed is that they call Mary the new Eve and Christ is the new Adam where it sounds like there could be a potential miscommunication of incest doctrine...
    – Lenny
    May 13, 2022 at 12:43

The Wrong Representative

It seems you are making several assumptions. The first appears to be that John represents the entire church and that the naming of Mary as John's mother actually makes her the mother of the entire church. If that were so, it would be difficult to explain why it was not Peter who was used as the representative. He is believed to be the head of the church by Catholics, who are the ones that venerate Mary. Protestants respect her, but do not venerate her. So, we would answer a question with a question.

If Mary is supposed to be the mother of the church, then why was John assigned as the Church's representative, when, according to Catholicism, that should have been Peter? Thus, the question of Mary's Universal Ecclesiastical Motherhood is problematic at the very start. Indeed, this appears to provide a stronger case for John being the head of the church rather than Peter. As such, Catholic doctrine and teaching would be in gross error.

The Wrong Pattern

At the core, the assumption is that this was a spiritual endowment of Mary's motherhood. However, the main responsibility fell to John--not Mary. As she aged, it was then John's responsibility to care for her--not for Mary to care for John. So, if this is spiritual, the pattern would be set for the Church to take care of Mary in a spiritual sense, just as John took care of Mary in a physical sense.

If John had been an infant at the time, then there would be at least a basis for Mary's acts of motherhood to him as a child. Yet, she did not give birth to him, change him, rock him to sleep, or nurse him. Her "nurturing" responsibilities with Jesus had long since passed as well. My mother still cares for me, but I do more taking care of her than she does of me at this point.

The Plainest Interpretation

So, the plainest interpretation is that Jesus was entrusting care for his aging mother to His closest companion. Jesus was the ideal Man to the very end. It would have been His responsibility, as the eldest son (Catholics believe He was her only son), to care for His own mother in her later years. Realizing that He would not be able to fulfill this duty, He passes it on to His friend.

If there were any other passages that indicated this endowment was anything more than this, then we could consider that. However, there is no Scripture that clearly indicates this. The idea of Mary as "the mother of God" is extra-biblical and late in appearance in church teaching.

  • I totally agree with You. :) I am a Born Again Christian and I just asked with the assumption Catholics are making.
    – R. Brown
    Jul 11, 2014 at 14:13

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