“Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother…” John 19:25
It is very striking that, with the exception of John, all of the disciples had fled. We’re told that around the cross there were four women: Mary, the mother of Jesus; her sister; Mary, the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene. With John, these four women watched, waited and worshiped, and they’re no doubt weeping, with all the mocking, spitting and taunting of a Christ-rejecting world.
Jesus was on the cross for three hours before the darkness came at noon, and during that time, He spoke only three times. Three sentences in three hours! For the rest of the time, He was completely silent in His suffering. Minutes passed like hours. It must have seemed endless.
Think about what it was like for Mary to watch during these hours. The cross is set in place, and then Jesus looks up: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Then silence from Jesus. Then Jesus turns a little to the side to speak to that thief, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” Silence again, then Jesus looks down and speaks to His mother…
What is Jesus saying?
“Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” John 19:26-27
It is the kindness of Jesus to provide for the care of His mother, but John can never take the place of Jesus. Some of you have experienced the irreplaceable loss of a child. To say to a mother who loses a child, “Well, there are other children,” fails to grasp the unique bond between a mother and the child to whom she’s given birth.
In the birth of her son, Mary found great joy, and now as He suffers, she feels an irreplaceable loss. There’s something more going on here than Jesus providing for the care of His mother. The relationship between Jesus and Mary is changing. For 33 years, Jesus has been the son of Mary, but He was and He is the Son of God. He assumed human flesh, so that He could become our redeemer. This is why He came into the world and why He was on the cross.
On the cross, the blood is draining from His body, His life is ebbing away. The old order is passing and the relationship between Mary and our Lord is changing. As Mary stood near the cross, her heart must have been crying out, “My son, my son, my son…” And Jesus is saying, “No. You must no longer think of Me as your son. From now on, John is to take that place in your life. Regard him as your son.” How is she to regard Jesus? As her Savior and Lord…
How would God save her?
“My spirit rejoices in God my Savior…” Luke 1:47
When the angel told Mary about the Son she would bear, she said that she had always looked to God as her Savior. But, how would God save her? Jesus went to the cross and laid down the life He had drawn from Mary. His body was broken. His blood was poured out. Mary’s son died, and in His death, He becomes her Savior. I want you to understand what’s happening here…
Mary loses an irreplaceable son and gains an incomparable Savior. Mary’s gain was far greater than her loss. She lost the love of a son who was taken from her in death. She gained the love of a Savior, who death could never take from her. She lost the joys of a son who had brought her happiness on earth. She gained the joys of a Savior at whose right hand there are pleasures forever more in heaven.
She gave Him life in the flesh for a time. He gave her life in the Spirit for eternity. Her gain was far greater than her loss. Mary has been in heaven for nearly 2,000 years, and if she could be here today, she would say to us, “I was so privileged to have this unique relationship with Him in the flesh, but that changed at the cross. He made it clear that John was taking His place in that regard. The flesh passes away and I entered heaven, not because Jesus is my son, but because Jesus is my Savior, not because He is mine by birth, but because I am His by faith.”
Colin currently serves as Senior Pastor of the The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is committed to preaching the Bible in a way that nourishes the soul by directing attention to Jesus Christ.
You can receive our daily devotional booklet by mail by visiting UnlockingtheBible.org/LifeKEYS and subscribing to the LifeKEYS Daily Bible Devotional Booklet. You can also follow Colin Smith and Unlocking the Bible on Facebook and Twitter.