Devotion is a difficult thing to measure but one thing is for certain, it can’t be measured by words alone but by action. Consider the following truths:
- When Jesus began His ministry with works and words the multitudes flocked around to the degree that he was endanger of being trampled.
- When He began to speak of the cost of following Him the numbers declined to hundreds.
- When He invited those to share in ministry proclaiming the truth in towns it shrunk to 70 (Luke 10:1)
- When He spoke of His death and the cost of following Him there were only 12.
- In the Garden of agony only three came forward and one of them (Peter) couldn’t stay awake.
- And finally at the foot of the cross there was only John left of His disciples.
But look closely at verse 25 and you will see that along with John there were four women who stood devotedly by Him. Those four women looked up at the One they loved upon that cross watching Him die, hearing the insults being hurled at Him, watching the blood drip from His battered body; they didn’t shrink away they stayed there at His feet no matter how hard it was. What caused them to remain when all, but John had left? Because they loved Him!! There love was not fixed upon His ideals, nor upon His promises (which at this moment seemed as though they weren’t going to come to pass)! They weren’t thinking of what benefit might be gained to them with their affiliation with Him. No, they simply followed Him even though they didn’t fully understand His words or His works; they were there because they loved Him. We have much to learn from John and these ladies about being devoted to our Lord no matter how difficult we find it to be at times.
Vs. 25-30 Words from the wood
Crucifixion originated 1000 years before Jesus from the Persians who are known as the Iranians today. Later this was passed on to the Greeks when they conquered Persia and when the Greeks were defeated by the Romans they adopted it as the form of capital punishment. The reason why the person was lifted off the ground was because the person being crucified usual began to curse their very lives and the Persians considered the ground sacred and didn’t want the curse to be applied to the ground, so they lifted up the victim from the earth around 3 to 4 feet. But instead of cursing the ground Jesus made seven statements while He was on the cross; they are known as “the seven words from the cross.”
- In the first three He thought of others: 1. Those who crucified Him (Luke 23:34), 2. The believing thief (Luke 23:39-43), and finally 3. His mother (John 19:25-27).
- The central word had to do with His relationship to the Father (Matt. 27:45-49).
- The last three statements focused on Himself: 1. His body (John 19:28-29), 2. His soul (John 19:30; and see Isa. 53:10), and 3. His spirit(Luke 23:46).
Vs. 25 It is amazing to realize that Mary was standing by her Son witnessing the brutality being placed upon Him and then hearing the tender words of her Son for her care. All Mary had to do was say that all of Jesus’ claims were false, but she didn’t. There probably is not a more appropriate Mother’s Day passage in all the Bible then this one as clearly Jesus understands the emotional need of all mother’s something that we would do well to appreciate more than just one day a year.
The gospel accounts differ a bit with regards to these gals around the cross. For instance, only John reveals for us that Jesus’ mother Mary was there, including her makes four women plus John. Most folks believe that Mary’s sister’s name is Salome and if that is true that means that James and John were cousins of Jesus. Then there was Mary the wife of Clopas also spelled Cleopas and according to Luke 24:18 one of the fellows who met Jesus while on the road to Emmaus was named Cleopas so perhaps it was this fellow’s wife. Then there was Mary Magdalene, and she was the one we are told in Luke 8:2 that Jesus had cast out seven demons from.
John’s mother being there brings to mind something very interesting. You may recall the story found in Matthew 20:20 where John’s and James’ mother came to Jesus with her sons, “kneeling down and asking something from Him”. He said to her, “What do you wish?” She then said to Jesus, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” Now three years later John’s mom looked up towards Jesus and saw who was placed on is right side and left side and remembered perhaps Jesus words, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”
Vs. 26 In the midst of His agony Jesus eyes met the eyes He first saw when He came into this world. He felt her agony as a sword was piercing her heart and He was at that very moment providing for the rest of every person who has ever been provided the rest for His mother. With regards to Jesus’ mom there is an interesting choice of a word that He uses in verse 26 as He calls her “Woman” it is a term of respect but not one of intimacy. Why did He use this word at the very moment that His mother was watching Him die? I suggest that the answer may lie with the 2nd chapter of John three ½ years earlier. It was the time right after the beginning of His earthly ministry when Jesus and His followers were invited to a wedding feast at Cana only three miles from the town Jesus grew up in. And Mary made her statement to her son “They have no wine”. For 30 years she had treasured thing in her heart, 30 years she had waited for vindication as she had put up with all the disrespect and harsh words regarding her pregnancy, (no doubt it had gotten worse after her husband Joseph had died). She had waited for the time that Luke recorded in 1:48 when, “He will regard the lowly state of His maidservant” at time when “all generations will call me blessed.” That is what I believe she meant as she made her request that day in Cana. “Do something that will show these people who You are, something that will show these folks that You were born by way of the Holy Spirit”. And although He fulfilled her request for the wine He did so without anyone realizing what He had done. Now Jesus upon the cross uses the same word “woman” instead of mother and I believe He did so to bring her back to those 3 ½ years earlier a way of saying “Mom now is the time. During My shame and then My glory that you will finally be called blessed”. As she stood there gazing up at her Son next to her we are told in Matthew 27:54 was a centurion who had witnessed “the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
Thirty-three years earlier as Mary and Joseph brought their first-born Son into the temple Simeon a devote man had waited year after year for the Consolation of Israel and it had been revealed to him that he would not die until after he would see the Messiah. So, on that day as these young parents came into the temple Simeon took Jesus up in his arms and blessed God saying, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your Salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.” Then Simeon turned to Mary and said, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” At this moment Mary fully understood what Simeon had prophesied to here 33 years earlier.
I wonder as she heard that word “woman” and understood what He meant by it that she would have gladly taken a lifetime of shame for one more day with her Son? What a good word that is for all of us who have at times been broken hearted by our children.
Notice that John again does not mention himself by name only referring to himself as the “disciple whom He loved”. Perhaps we ought to try this with regards to ourselves calling into remembrance that we are the “follower of Jesus whom He adores”.
Vs. 27 There is one other curious thing that happened as our Lord looked down to Mary and John who stood next to her as He said to John, “Behold your mother”. You see based upon Matt. 13:55-56 we know that Jesus had at least four half-brothers and several half-sisters, yet Jesus bypassed the earthly bloodline and turned instead to John to care for His mother. There is an interesting prophetic word with regards to this in Psalm 69:8 where the psalmist writes with regards to the Messiah, “I have become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother’s children”. It is interesting to me that John adds this commentary that “from that hour that disciple took her to his home”. Which suggests to me that Mary remained with John until she was ushered into Jesus’ presence, even though we know that according to Acts 1:14 that Mary along with Jesus’ half-brothers were gathered in the upper room at Pentecost. This is further supported by Paul’s testimony in 1 Cor. 15:7 where we are told that prior to Jesus’ ascension “That He was seen by James”. The 27th verse and the 28th verse are separated by 3 hours, and I believe that John took Mary home sparing her the witness of the aftermath of Jesus death. How fitting it is that Jesus in the final moments of His earthly life would unite the woman in whom He had rested upon her chest with the disciple had done so upon His. It was on the cross where man was doing his worse to Jesus, thrusting its spear of hatred and separation, that Jesus looked down upon His mother and united her to one of His followers. Relationships can always come together at the cross, no matter how much damage and misunderstanding at the cross Jesus can heal and bind together all in Him. Instead of focusing in on all the wrongs done it is at the cross where we see forgiveness and love.
Vs. 28-30 Here we are given the final earthly words of the very one that John had said in the first chapter was the Word of God. Just prior to this Jesus had quoted Psalm 22:1
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning?” He then glanced over to one of the thief’s who was crucified next to Him and assured him that “today you will be with Me in Paradise”. And through all of this we need to remember that He said I thirst! All His words and care were brought in the midst of the greatest of personal needs. His final words came as a lamb that had passed every inspection, “It is finished”! Every other religion adds something else after these words of our Lord. “It’s not finished, you must go out on a mission and give 10%”. No, others say, “You have to go door to door and hand out tracts then you will be able to inherit the world”. Friends, nothing else remains to be done for our salvation it is finished all we do now is enjoy our relationship and bask in His abiding love.
In Luke 23:45-46 we are told that, “the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last.” Matthew in 27:51-53 tells us that when “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” So here we have the first rock concert and pardon the pun, but it was live worship!! But what did all this mean? Well, in Rom. 8:22 we read that “..the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.” As the crowds worshipped Jesus as He entered Jerusalem the religious leaders rebuked Jesus commanding Him to tell them to stop to which He replied in Luke 19:40 “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” Folks this was the true Rolling Stones rocking out declaring that the curse had been lifted! The earthquake had another effect as the stones that covered over the tombs were opened. What happened was that the bodies of the some of the believers were made visible! Why this sign? If you go to 1 Cor. 15:55-58 you read, “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I believe that God was showing that death could not hold the saints in the grave. It says that these same believers came out of the graves after Jesus’ resurrection and that they went into Jerusalem and appeared too many. The word “appear” means to “to exhibit (in person) or disclose (by words), declare (plainly), to inform.” Now Paul tells us in Eph 4:8-9 that when Jesus “..ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men. (Now this, “He ascended”; what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?” And Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:19 that Jesus “preached to the spirits in prison,” So it is my opinion that it is these O.T. saints that Jesus went to share the liberty that they had looked forward too. So, they were out there sharing that only through Jesus could you be made perfect! Now I must admit that there is not much given on this whole seen, but it is interesting to think that King David would come up to you and start talking to you proclaiming the victory won you in Jesus alone! And remember all of this took place on the first Resurrection Sunday!