Last Words from the Cross #3
Woman, behold thy son! Behold thy mother(John 19:26-27).
Listen! Jesus is speaking again from the central cross. He speaks to His Mother and to His beloved apostle, John. Between 9:00 a.m. and noon, Jesus has already prayed for the forgiveness of His enemies and promised paradise to the believing thief. Weary from a sleepless night and weakened from blood loss, Jesus now speaks His third word from the cross, a word of comfort.
COMFORT TO HIS MOTHER. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother (vs. 25). Marys suffering must have been severe as she watched her eldest son die. Perhaps she remembered bringing baby Jesus to the temple. Simeon had taken Him in his arms and informed Mary, Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed (Luke 2:35). She had already felt the sword of gossip, falsely challenging Marys virtue in the virgin birth. Herods sword had sought to kill her infant son, forcing them to flee to Egypt. Rejection and mockery of Jesus were other soul-piercing swords. Now Mary stands by the cross. The nails in Jesus hands and feet and the thorns in His brow must have also pierced her soul also. Do you feel her heartache? You see, it reveals our thoughts, too.
Jesus wanted to comfort her. In saying to Mary, behold thy son. Jesus was taking His responsibility as eldest son to provide for His mother. He now delegates that responsibility to John, perhaps his most faithful disciple. He was saying, John will take my place in caring for you. In His perfect humanity Jesus was setting an example for us concerning family responsibility.
COMFORT TO JOHN. When Jesus was arrested, all the disciples forsook Him and fled(Matthew 26:56). This included John, but he came back. In fact, He is the only disciple recorded as being at the cross. John referred to himself as that disciple whom Jesus loved. John also loved Jesus dearly and was now grieving. Jesus comforted and honored John greatly by trusting him with the care of His Mother. In saying to John, behold thy mother, Jesus was saying, I trust you as my brother. The Bible says, And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home(John 19:27).
COMFORT TO US. These words of Jesus also comfort us. Just as Jesus thought of Mary and John in His extreme suffering, He also remembered you and me there as He was dying on the cross. On the third day, Jesus arose from the dead and is alive today. He will also comfort you in your hour of need. He said, I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you(John 14:18). Not only was He speaking of His resurrection, but of His coming in the Holy Spirit to the Church on the Day of Pentecost as well. He also comes to every Christian at the New Birth and promises, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee(Hebrews 13:5).
But sometimes we may be like the little boy crying in his bed in the night because he was afraid of the dark. His father called to him, Jesus is with you. The lad replied, I know but I want someone with skin.
Jesus was God with skin. Also, today, He may send someone else with skin to represent Him to us in our deep valleys. In this word on the cross Jesus was providing John to comfort Mary, and providing Mary to comfort John. He may want you to be Jesus, with skin to comfort someone else when they are going through trials.
There is one other comforting lesson from this third word. Jesus may have been ending his maternal relationship with Mary. Some pray to Mary, thinking that she has more influence with Jesus than anyone else. There is no evidence of that in Scripture. Jesus had existed long before creation and did not owe His existence to Mary. She had the privilege of temporarily being his mother; but now, He was moving back into His eternal glory.
On one occasion Mary and the brothers of Jesus came to take Him home. They were apparently embarrassed by the controversy that followed Him. They said, He is beside himself(Mark 3:21 & 31). Jesus responded, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And He looked round about on those who sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother (Mark 3:33-35)
I believe Jesus was saying to all believers, You are family to me. If you do the will of God with regard to me, you can be just as close to me as my mother or my brothers. Hebrews 2:11 says of Jesus, For both He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one, for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren. Not only is Jesus my Lord and Savior but also He is my Brother. Dont know about you but that comforts me.
In times of loneliness, difficulty, illness, or by an open grave, you realize how much you need God. There is no comfort like having Jesus in your soul. Jesus cares when you hurt. Just as He reached out to Mary and John, He will reach out to you just when you need Him most. Believe in Him. Call on Jesus in distress. You will be comforted and you can comfort others. Amen.
© 2003 D. B. Martin
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