I. "NOW THERE STOOD BY THE CROSS OF JESUS."
A. The other gospels tell us that there were many women from Galilee who had been ministering to Jesus who were standing afar off watching His crucifixion.
1. They name Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee, and Salome as being in that crowd.
2. Evidently when Mary Magdalene saw Mary the mother of Jesus, standing close by with John and Mary's sister- in-law also named Mary, she came near and joined them.
3. There is another Mary that is not named as being there. One might well wonder where Mary the sister of Lazarus was.
4. We know that Peter was somewhere in the crowd also, for he declares in his first epistle that he was an eye- witness of His suffering.
B. Can you imagine what must have been going through the mind of His mother at this time?
1. Quite possibly she was remembering the visitation of the angel Gabriel to her, when he first announced that she had been chosen by God to bring His Son into the world.
2. Where is now the promise, that "He shall be great, and be called the Son of the Highest?"
3. Maybe there flashed into her mind the words of the prophet Simeon when she had brought Jesus into the temple to present Him to the Lord, after she had finished her days of purification, and after he raised the child unto the Lord, he had said strange words to her, "Behold, this [child] is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
4. There had been many things that she had been pondering in her heart through the years, and now they were beginning to make sense. For as she stood there watching her Son being crucified, surely a sword was piercing through her heart.
C. Knowing from the scriptures the quality of the character of Mary the mother of Jesus, I am sure that if she had made up the story of the angel appearing to her to announce that she as a virgin would bring the Messiah into the world, to cover her promiscuity, she would at this point stopped the whole proceeding and confess her sin, so that her Son might be spared. She surely would not have let Him die for her sin.
1. Yet He did die for her sin, and the sins of the whole world.
2. There is nothing at all in the scriptures that would indicate that Mary was sinless, or that she was immaculately conceived. She needed the saving grace of God that was being provided for there on the cross, just as much as any of the rest of us.
II. "WHEN JESUS THEREFORE SAW HIS MOTHER, AND THE DISCIPLE STANDING BY WHOM HE LOVED."
A. Jesus no doubt looked down and saw His mother standing there weeping.
1. I can imagine that she had been a model mother.
2. She had understood the whole time that this was a special child.
3. She had kept many secrets bottled up inside her heart for many years.
4. She was also probably expecting Him to set up the kingdom and reign over the whole earth. The angel said, "He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His Father David, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end."
5. It looked like things were coming to an end right here.
B. Jesus speaks to her, "Woman, behold thy son." He no doubt nodded toward John.
C. To John he declared, "Behold thy mother."
D. His first words on the cross were directed to His Father, "Father forgive them, they know not what they do."
E. The second were addressed to the malefactor being crucified next to Him, "Today, you will be with Me in paradise."
F. His next words were addressed to His mother and then to John.
1. This seems to be His final act on the human level, from here on, He is going to be taking care of eternal matters of redemption.
2. He first prays for those that are crucifying Him.
3. He next comforts the thief beside Him.
4. Now He makes arrangements for His mother's care in the future.
G. The Catholics use this as a proof passage for the perpetual virginity of Mary. If, as the scriptures declare that He had other brothers and sisters, surely they would have taken Mary in and cared for her, and He would not have committed her to the care of John.
1. You must remember that His brothers did not believe in Him until after the resurrection. John said that neither did His brothers believe in Him.
2. The bonds that tie us together in the family of faith are stronger than those that tie us together in human relationships, the one is temporal and the other eternal.
3. Mary at this point was closer to John, the disciple described as the one that Jesus loved, than her own son named John, who did not believe at this point in Jesus.
H. His commission to John was to take care of Mary His mother. John understood Him to mean that, so that from that hour, that disciple took her into his home.
1. Five times in the scriptures, John is identified as the disciple whom Jesus loved.
Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.
When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt [his] fisher's coat [unto him], (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.
Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
2. Every time it is in the gospel of John which was written by John himself.
3. No other gospel calls him by that name or indicates that John was loved more than any other.
4. John just felt this about himself, and declares it of himself.
5. I feel that every disciple around Jesus felt the same way, that they were loved by Jesus.
6. The scriptures tell us that He loved His own which were in the world, He loved them to the end.
7. There are some people that have a way about them that just makes you feel special. Like you are the closest friend that they have.
8. I have heard people say that about one of my closest friends that they were his closest friend, but I know that I am.
9. Those who have been around Jesus very much feel that He loves them in a special way, and they are correct. You are very special to Him.