by Wayne Blank
By Jesus' own command as He was dying on the cross, His mother Mary thereafter went to live with The Apostle John as family. Although Mary would have then been approximately in her late forties or early fifties, she was already a widow. Joseph was older than Mary, many believe by perhaps as much as 20 years, when the average normal life expectancy was much less than now.
But why did Jesus specify that she go to live with John, when the normal custom was for a widow to live with her own family, first the oldest son (the rights of firstborn included responsibilities of the firstborn), or younger sons or daughters if the eldest son had died, as Jesus did? Why did Mary not go to live with any of her other family?
"Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary? And are not His brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all His sisters with us?" (Matthew 13:55-56 RSV) (see Mary's Other Children?)
Apart from the likelihood that Jesus' siblings, Mary's other children, after they finally realized that Jesus was in fact the Messiah (according to The Bible account, they were not believers during the time of His ministry - see above link), were either off to distant lands on missionary journeys that would have been too difficult or dangerous for their mother, or were also martyred at home or abroad as were many of the apostles and early Christians (only John survived to old age, for a purpose - to write the Book of Revelation), why did Mary go and live with a "stranger"? John certainly was a good and righteous man, and a very close friend of Jesus, but surely Mary must have had other family somewhere. Why John?
But then, could the apostle John have also been related to Jesus, as, for example, John The Baptist was? (Luke 1:26-27,36,57-60)
Standing among the women near the cross with Jesus' mother Mary was Salome, who was Mary's sister, and therefore Jesus' aunt:
"Standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene." (John 19:25 RSV)
John's mother was Salome:
"And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father" (Matthew 4:21 RSV)
Salome was Mary's sister, Jesus' aunt and John's mother. Jesus and John were cousins. It wasn't "Mary" that went to live with John, but Aunt Mary.