Woman, Behold Thy Son!”

7 Last Sayings on the CROSS series – 3

 

  Text:   John 19:25-27

    Aim:   To show Lord Jesus’ care for His mother and to understand her position in Scripture. Reveal different ways some came to the cross and that how close we stand to the cross reveals our identity and devotion to Him.

Introduction:

Once again we journey to a hill far away on the outskirts of Jerusalem, where there stands an old rugged cross.

A CROSS – that is the emblem of suffering and shame.

A CROSS – where the burden of my heart rolled away.

A CROSS – where there is no other way to redeem man than this.

A CROSS – where there flows a precious fountain for the soul unclean.

A CROSS – where all my sins were washed away; and sin’s dark night was turned into day.

 

Upon that cross of Jesus, mine eyes at times can see, the very dying form, of the one who suffered there, for me.

 

With my heart full of gratitude and with tears overflowing, two wonders overwhelm me:

1] The wonders of His glorious love for me;

2] And how someone so unworthy as I am given so precious a gift as salvation.

 

No wonder the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 6:14 – “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

 

This is the third time our Saviour has spoken since He was nailed to that cross.

1st Time – He asks for forgiveness of all mankind, “Father forgive them they know not what they do.”

2nd Time – He spoke was to save the soul of one of the thieves, who hung at His side, “Today, shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

This the 3rd Time – Here He was committing the care of His mother to John and John’s care to His mother.

 

Calvary stands in the centre of ALL the purposes of God. The Christ of the cross and the cross of Christ represent the greatest meeting place in the world. Here at its foot of the cross stands a group of people.

 

Let’s consider these folks and the intimate, heart-touching discussion of three them.

I.     “now there stood at the croSs of Jesus…” – vs. 25.
FIRST, Front and centre is JESUS – He is the Focal point

Let us remember to always put Him first in everything. Col 1:18 –  “And he is the head… the beginning, the firstborn… in all things he might have the preeminence.” (Be it, people, needs, programs, traditions, or hobbies.)

A.    Through out His life He took time, for what the world might consider little things. He did so, even on the cross.

1.    Though He suffering was so great, it did not quench His love.

a.    The intensity and aggravation of Christ’s suffering at that moment surpassed all conception. With every nerve of His frame in torture, with a load of sorrow on His heart, He did not forget His mother.

b.    When she lifted up her loving face, and her tears met His eyes, they seemed to pierce His heart. For a moment, He forgot His pain and suffering in the tears of His mother.

c.    Children need to learn a lesson from this! You can’t plead some personal inconvenience as a reason for neglecting your parents.

2.    The most important work ever done by any man was taking place that day, yet BEFORE His time ran out, Jesus took time for His family.

a.    He showed us that no engagements, no career, how ever important, can justify the neglect of domestic duties.

b.    As He hung on the cross, eternal destinies of all mankind hung in the balance.

1)    He was fighting the moral battles of the universe. Earth, heaven and hell were interested in His position.
2)    It was “the hour.” A crisis in the history of moral creation was taking place. Notwithstanding this, He was alive to domestic duties. He attended to the needs of His aged mother.

c.    How can we, whether statesman, scientist, politician, preacher or reformer plead that the calling of our vocation or vastness of our engagements justify the neglect of our home duties?

B.   Literally stripped of everything; Jesus seemed to have nothing more to give to anyone. Nonetheless, from the midst of deep poverty, He had already made precious gifts.

1.    To His executioners He had bequeathed the pardon of God—”Father forgive them…”

2.    To the thief who was His companion in punishment, He gave the promise of Paradise.

3.    Could He find nothing to His mother and friend?

4.    For His two beloved friends, His most precious treasures on earth, He bequeathed one to another.

C.   The Lord Jesus had concern as to who would care for His mother, but why John?

1.    Her husband, Joseph, evidently had already passed away, Mary was a widow and now Jesus was to leave her. Jesus directs her to John who was to care for her as a son.

2.    BUT what of Jesus’ brothers and sisters? Why weren’t they chosen to take care of Mary?

a.    His half-brothers were not saved as far as we know—up to this time (Jn. 7:5)

b.    It seems James, Joses, Simon and Judas (Matt. 13:55) were to be converted before the upper-room prayer meeting before Pentecost (Acts 1:14).

c.    Jesus had sisters (Matt. 13:56; Mk. 6:3), but there is no record of them being saved.

d.    Since all of them were younger than his 33 yrs., perhaps they had no go way of caring for their mother.

3.    Jesus showed His love as a son to a mother by seeing to it that she was looked after when he was gone the best He could.

4.    In getting John and Mary to look after one another Jesus taught ALL OF US a LESSON ABOUT LOSSES.

a.    Losses are best made up or managed when we hear our precious Saviour pointing us by those losses to new positions of help to OTHERS.

b.    IF we will let Him, He will point us to what will fill the empty places in our hearts and homes.

D.   Jesus knew the secret to JOY in life through out His life – He took time for others.

1.    When most of us would have been thinking about our own predicament and problems, Jesus had the welfare of others on His heart.

2.    Jesus always put others first. Who is the FOCUS of your life? Real JOY comes when you put JESUS first in your life; OTHERS second and YOURSELF last.

II.    Jesus had enough confidence in THE BELOVED John to place the care of His mother in his hands – Vs. 26-27.

A.    It is clear from Jn. 13:23 that the disciple whom Jesus loved was John.

B.   John was more privileged that all the other disciples, for into his faithful care the Lord Jesus entrusted His greatest earthly treasure.

1.    John was given the great honour to take His Lord’s place in the life of the sorrowing Mary.

2.    This privilege carried heavy responsibilities. Not every disciple would be sufficiently trustworthy for this great task.

3.    The Lord knew John would not fail Him—His mother, the dearest and best of the earthly friends, would be safe in the care of His beloved apostle.

4.    How important it is for us to prove ourselves “trustworthy” and to have a “testimony” of being faithful.
How much trust does the Saviour have in you, especially to be faithful?

5.    Jesus had nothing else to give as a parting gift, but He gave these two to each other and in so doing, enriched them both. In so doing, Christ broke all earthly ties of family.

C.   There was no specific directions given to John pertaining to his care of Mary—it was enough for the Lord to call his attention to her by saying, “Behold thy mother.”

1.    How wonderful it would be if we were in such a state of heart that we did not need specific instructions—just a hint or a look would be enough!

2.    We shouldn’t have to driven of goaded to do our holy duty as some ox to the field of labour.

3.    From within us should spring a love that delights to anything that would bring joy to the heart of the one we love. Whether it is our friend, mother or our Saviour.

III.   The Mention of The Women

A.    John’s list of the women – Vs. 25.

1.    John alone has preserved this incident for us naming these women.

a.    Matthew, Mark & Luke speak of a number of Galilean women who were present at the cross, but “stood afar off beholding these things” (Matt. 27:55; Mk. 15:40; Lk. 23:49).

b.    The reason that no other evangelists make note of this incident is perhaps because John was the only one present on the occasion.

2.    This verse may be read so as to mention 4 or 3 women, according as to whether “His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas” is taken to mean one or two women.

 

3.    Four women would escape the difficulty of having two sisters with the same name.

a.    The question can not be answered with certainty, but it seems four persons are mentioned in two pairs.

b.    If there are four, then the unnamed women would to be Salome, the mother of John (Matt. 27:56; Mk. 15:40).

b.    If the mother of the apostle John, Salome, was the sister of Mary, and John was the 1st cousin of Jesus, it would more easily explain how Jesus could entrust His mother to him with Jesus’ brothers present.

4.    These gracious women stood by the cross! That took courage.

a.    Scarcely could they have placed themselves in a more perilous position.

b.    To stand by the ONE Whom the world abhorred, and against Whom it was launching its fiercest displeasure, displayed a grand conviction of soul.

c.    Women are the feebler sex, BUT we must grant that they are by far the stronger in anything, which has to do with self-less love.

d.    Love is the soul of courage.

1)    It is love what puts steel in one’s nerves and makes one heroic in trials.
2)    A man might be built like a Hercules, but if he doesn’t have love in him he will be a moral coward.
3)    When the Apostle Paul spoke to the Corinthians as to the motivation to reach the lost he said, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead.” (2 Cor. 5:14).

B.   Let’s Consider the Three Marys at the cross – Vs. 25

If I were a woman vs. 25 would be one of my favourite texts. When most of the disciples had forsaken Christ, three women lingered in His presence. They were all named Mary.

 

TURN >> 1 Corinthians 13:13 << If we would link verse 25 in Jn. 19 with this verse, which has triple attributes of faith, hope, and love, then we might be able to present each of the three women named “Mary” with a surname. A little investigation reveals that they travelled to the cross along different pathways.

1.    MARY FAITH – Jesus’ mother

a.    The story of Joseph’s wife is among the loveliest stories in the world. Faced with the physical impossibility of Christ’s conception, she believed and said, “Be it unto me according to thy word” (Lk. 1:38), and in joyful anticipation sang, “My soul doth magnify the Lord” (Lk. 1:46).

b.    With the birth of the Lord Jesus, and with the collected testimony of the shepherds, the wise men, the prophet Simeon, and the prophetess Anna, increased the wonderment of her heart.

c.    Later, she heard the boy Jesus name God as His Father; and by the time He was 30 she had sufficiently grown in faith to be able confidently to expect His first miracle (John 2:5). She had no doubt, for she had come to realise the extent of His power.

d.    BUT, her faith was soon to suffer. The Pharisees came asking about His age and accusing Him of blasphemy. Mary gathered together her other children, and went seeking Him. It is said that His kinsmen thought He was beside Himself, and would have taken Him home (Mark 3:21, 31).

e.    Then came the cross, and any remaining thought of His divinity disappeared. Mary went away, and as far as we know never returned until the news of the resurrection electrified everybody.

2.    MARY HOPE – the wife of Cleophas

a.    The entire background of this woman’s experience is different. She was the wife of a disciple who is also mentioned in the account of the walk to Emmaus.

b.    Possibly in common with many other people, she had rallied to His cause firmly believing Him to be the promised Messiah. Each miracle added fuel to the fires of her hopes; but as with “MARY LOVE,” the tragedy of the cross devastated her soul.

c.    It is more than likely that she was the unknown companion accompanying Cleophas back to the home in Emmaus, and their testimony to the Stranger is most illuminating. They said, “We trusted it had been He which should have redeemed Israel” (Lk. 24:21). Such hopes would have perished but for the resurrection.

3.    MARY LOVE – Magdalene

a.    If Magdalene is to have a surname, it must be Love. She had known the misery of being possessed by devils, and then Jesus had brought heaven to her soul.

b.    The memory of His unsurpassed kindness and power thrilled her, as every day with other women she followed ministering to Him.

c.    She also had faith, and fervently hoped He would be the Messiah; yet underneath lay something greater. She loved Him!

d.    Had He failed? Had He been a blasphemer? People said so; but their opinions made no difference.

1)    She had loved Him in life; she loved Him in death, and perhaps that is the reason why she was the only one of the three Marys to come back on the morning of the resurrection.
2)    Primarily she did not return to worship a risen Lord; she came because she still loved the dead Jesus.

“And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three: but the greatest of these is love.”

 

There is a faith—a mental assent that cannot survive a Calvary.

There is a hope—that can be submerged by disappointment.

BUT love is unchanging; it is eternal; it is like God.

Such love brought the Saviour down to us; such love alone can take us up to Him.

 

Let me love Thee, Saviour,

Take my heart for ever:

Nothing but Thy favour

My soul can satisfy.

B.   Jesus’ Mother, Mary

1.    Who was she?

a.    Mary was a good woman who from her youth kept herself pure & dedicated to God. She stood for the purest and best of womanhood.

b.    The Bible says nothing about her being immaculately conceived, nor is she the “mother of God,” but she did give birth to the Son of God.

1)    Fulfilment of Isaiah 7:14 – “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
2)    Luke 1:28 – “And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”

2.    Who she was not: Lot of misconception.

a.    Not sinless. She was not preserved free from the taint of original sin. Therefor she was not immaculately conceived.

1)    Only been one sinless person to have ever walked this earth and that was the Lord Jesus Christ. He “knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21) As the believer’s high priest, He “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).
2)    Bible declares concerning all others, including Mary, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
3)    Pope Pious IX invented the doctrine known as the Immaculate Conception out of thin air in the year 1854.

b.    She has no power or ability to intercede for the benefit of others. 1 Tim. 2:5 – “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

1)    Jesus taught much about praying, but neither He nor any other Bible writer ever hinted that we should pray to her.
2)    To pray to anyone else, but God is to break the 1st Commandment.
3)    To credit her with the ability to hear prayers from millions at any given time to make her a god.

c.    She was not forever a virgin. Some teach Jesus was her only child, but the Bible says in Mk. 6:3 – “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us?”

3.    By calling His mother “Woman,” the Lord Jesus did not show any lack of respect.

a.    Mary was not her Son’s equal. He was God in the flesh; she was but a woman of His creation.

1)    Lk. 1:47 – Mary declared ”My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”
2)    Therefore, she is not a co-redemptorist; she has no part in the salvation of man other than trusting in her Son as her God & Saviour!

b.    No one in the NT ever gave her any special reverence, nor did anyone ever ask her to pray for them.

This should be a lesson for us:

Ø      God could have used anyone to bring Christ into the world. She was so blessed.

Ø      We should not exalt Mary to a place where she is adored—this is idolatry. The Lord Jesus as God is to have our devoted and explicit adoration.

4.    Vs. 27 – “And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”

a.    Vs. 35 – John witnessed the soldier piercing Christ’s side.

b.    John more than likely took Mary away at once from the scene of agony and left her somewhere near, in order that might return to see the end of the tragedy.

c.    From that time on, Mary lived with Salome & John – Tradition tells us she first lived at Jerusalem and them in Galilee. She was to have died about the year 48 at the age of 59.

Conclusion:

·        Have you been taking the time to personally minister to your loved ones and attend to their needs?

·        Some here today may have suffered through a loss — experienced hurt from death, injury or situations, which have raised doubts, fears and questions. Are you allowing God to make provision and are you allowing Him fill in those empty spaces in your heart and home?

·        Have you found the secret to JOY in living life?

·        Someone here may have left and lost the joy of their salvation and you are struggling with how to make things right again.

·        Others for one reason or another are not standing very close to the cross today. You are following Jesus, but afar off. No one can really identify you as the one who loves the Lord and it is bothering your heart.

 

Whatever it is, make is it right with God today!

I am praying today you will catch a glimpse of the cross and come back.

 

 

25 March, 2001

 




SERMON OUTLINES