John 19:25
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
-25John 19:25-27 relate an incident which is found in St. John only.

Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.—Better, Mary the (wife) of Clopas, as in margin. This Clopas is usually identified with Alphæus. (Comp. Matthew 10:3; Matthew 27:56, and Introduction to the Gospel according to St. Matthew, p. 41) The question arises, Are there three or four women mentioned here?—i.e., Is “Mary the (wife) of Clopas” sister of Mary the mother of our Lord? or does St. John mean by “His mother’s sister” an unnamed woman, who may not improbably be his own mother, Salome, whom he nowhere mentions? The question cannot be answered with certainty; but upon the whole, the balance of evidence inclines to the view that we have four persons here mentioned in two pairs: “His mother and His mother’s sister; Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” As early as the second century, the Peshito Syriac version adopted this view, and inserted “and” after the word sister. (Comp. Notes on Matthew 28:1 and Luke 24:18, and especially the Excursus on The brethren of the Lord in Lightfoot On Galatians, pp. 247-282.)

John 19:25-27. Now — While Jesus, hanging on the cross, suffered all manner of insults and sorrows; there stood by the cross his mother — “Neither her own danger, nor the sadness of the spectacle, nor the reproaches and insults of the people, could restrain her from performing the last office of duty and tenderness to her divine son on the cross. Grotius justly observes, that it was a noble instance of fortitude and zeal. Now a sword (according to Simeon’s prophecy, Luke 2:35) struck through her tender heart, and pierced her very soul; and perhaps the extremity of her sorrows might so overwhelm her spirits, as to render her incapable of attending the sepulchre, which we do not find that she did. Nor do we, indeed, meet with any thing after this in the sacred story concerning her, or in early antiquity: except that she continued among the disciples after our Lord’s ascension, which Luke observes, Acts 1:14.”

And his mother’s sister, &c. — See note on Matthew 27:55-56. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved — Jesus was now in the depth of his own sufferings, yet when he saw his mother and her companions, their grief greatly affected him, particularly the distress of his mother. Therefore, though he was almost at the point of death, he spake a few words, in which he expressed his most affectionate regard to her. He saith, Woman, behold thy son — Meaning John. His words were intended to assure her that that disciple whom he loved would, for the sake of that love, supply the place of a son to her after he was gone; and therefore he desired her to consider him as such, and expect from him all the duty of a son. And — Besides expressing great filial affection toward his mother, he gave the beloved disciple also a token of his high esteem. He saith to him, Behold thy mother — To whom thou art now to perform the part of a son in my place; thus singling him out as that disciple on whom he could most depend to fulfil that duty, and thereby conferring upon him a peculiar honour. And from that hour — That is, from the time of our Lord’s death; that disciple took her unto his own home — And maintained her; Joseph, her husband, it seems, being dead. Thus, in the midst of the heaviest sufferings that ever human nature sustained, Jesus demonstrated a divine strength of benevolence. Even when his own distress was at the highest pitch, his friends had such a share of his concern, that their happiness for a while interrupted the feelings of his pains, and engrossed his thoughts.19:19-30 Here are some remarkable circumstances of Jesus' death, more fully related than before. Pilate would not gratify the chief priests by allowing the writing to be altered; which was doubtless owing to a secret power of God upon his heart, that this statement of our Lord's character and authority might continue. Many things done by the Roman soldiers were fulfilments of the prophecies of the Old Testament. All things therein written shall be fulfilled. Christ tenderly provided for his mother at his death. Sometimes, when God removes one comfort from us, he raises up another for us, where we looked not for it. Christ's example teaches all men to honour their parents in life and death; to provide for their wants, and to promote their comfort by every means in their power. Especially observe the dying word wherewith Jesus breathed out his soul. It is finished; that is, the counsels of the Father concerning his sufferings were now fulfilled. It is finished; all the types and prophecies of the Old Testament, which pointed at the sufferings of the Messiah, were accomplished. It is finished; the ceremonial law is abolished; the substance is now come, and all the shadows are done away. It is finished; an end is made of transgression by bringing in an everlasting righteousness. His sufferings were now finished, both those of his soul, and those of his body. It is finished; the work of man's redemption and salvation is now completed. His life was not taken from him by force, but freely given up.Let us not rend it - It would then have been useless. The outer garment, being composed of several parts - fringes, borders, etc. Deuteronomy 12:12 - could be easily divided.

That the scripture ... - Psalm 22:18.

25-27. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary, wife of Cleophas—This should be read, as in the Margin, "Clopas," the same as "Alpheus" (Mt 10:3). The "Cleopas" of Lu 24:18 was a different person. These words the wife are not in the Greek, but supplied by our translators; which leaves it doubtful whether that Mary was the wife, or the mother, or the daughter of Cleophas. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus,.... So near as not only to see him, but to hear him speak:

his mother; the mother of Jesus, Mary; which showed her affection to Christ, and her constancy in abiding by him to the last; though it must be a cutting sight, and now was fulfilled Simeon's prophecy, Luke 2:35 to see her son in such agonies and sorrow, and jeered and insulted by the worst of men; and though she herself was exposed to danger, and liable to be abused by the outrageous multitude; and it also showed that she stood in need, as others, of a crucified Saviour; so far was she from being a co-partner with him in making satisfaction for sin, as the Papists wickedly say:

and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas. The Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions distinguish Mary the wife of Cleophas from his mother's sister, by placing the copulative and between them, and so make two persons; whereas one and the same is intended, and who was the sister of Mary, the mother of Christ; not her own sister, for it is not likely that two sisters should be of the same name; but her husband Joseph's sister, and so her's; or else Cleophas was Joseph's brother, as Eusebius from Hegesippus says (k): and who was also not the daughter of Cleophas, as the Arabic version has here supplied it; much less the mother of him; but his wife, as is rightly put in our translation: for, according to the other evangelists, she was the mother of James and Joses, and who were the sons of Cleophas or Alphaeus; which are not the names of two persons, nor two names of one and the same person, but one and the same name differently pronounced; his true name in Hebrew was or or "Chelphi", or "Chelphai", or "Chilphi", a name frequently to be met with in Talmudic and Rabbinic writings; and so a Jewish writer (l) observes, that , "Chilpha is the same as Ilpha"; and in Greek may be pronounced either Cleophas, or Alphaeus, as it is both ways: ignorance of this has led interpreters to form different conjectures, as that either the husband of this Mary had two names; or that she was twice married to two different persons, once to Alphaeus, and after his death to Cleophas; or that Cleophas was her father, and Alphaeus her husband; for neither of which is there any foundation. She was no doubt a believer in Christ, and came and stood by his cross; not merely to keep her sister company, but out of affection to Jesus, and to testify her faith in him:

and Mary Magdalene; out of whom he had cast seven devils, and who had been a true penitent, a real believer in him, an hearty lover of him, was zealously attached to him, and followed him to the last. Three Marys are here mentioned as together; and it is observable, that the greater part of those that are taken notice of, as following Christ to the cross, and standing by it, were women, the weaker, and timorous sex, when all his disciples forsook him and fled; and none of them attended at the cross, as we read of, excepting John; no, not even Peter, who boasted so much of his attachment to him. These good women standing by the cross of Christ, may teach us to do, as they did, look upon a crucified Christ, view his sorrows, and his sufferings, and our sins laid upon him, and borne and taken away by him; we should look unto him for pardon, cleansing, and justification, and, in short, for the whole of salvation: we should also weep, as they did, whilst we look on him; shed even tears of affection for, and sympathy with him; of humiliation for sin, and of joy for a Saviour: and likewise should abide by him as they did, by his persons, offices, and grace; by the doctrine of the cross, continuing steadfastly in it; and by the ordinances of Christ, constantly attending on them, and that notwithstanding all reproaches and sufferings we may undergo.

(k) Emseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 11. (l) Juchasin, fol. 92. 1.

{8} Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

(8) Christ is a perfect example of all righteousness, not only in the keeping of the first, but also of the second table of the ten commandments.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 19:25-27. Another narrative, selected by John, and peculiar to him, as elevated and striking in its contents as it is simple and tender in form, and all the more unjustly relegated to the inventions made (Strauss, Baur, Schenkel) in the interest of John, although in the Synoptics (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40) the women mentioned stand afar off, which standing afar off is to be placed after the present scene, not before, as Lücke and Olshausen, in opposition to the synoptical account, are of opinion.

ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦΜαγδαληνή] Are only three women here named (usual opinion), so that Μαρία ἡ τοῦ Κλωπᾶ is in apposition to ἡ ἀδελφὴ, κ.τ.λ.; or are there four (Wieseler in the Stud. u. Krit. 1840, p. 648 ff., Lücke, Lange, Ewald, Laurent, Neut. Stud. p. 170 f.), so that Μαρία ἡ τοῦ Κλωπᾶ is to be taken by itself, and the women are brought forward in two pairs? The Syr. already interpreted in the latter mode, and hence inserted a καί before Μαρία (as also Aeth. and Pers.); so also have Lachm. (ed. min., not in the large edition) and Tisch. interpunctuated (without a comma after Κλωπᾶ). As it is highly improbable of itself, and established by no instance, that two sisters bore the same name,—as, further, it is in keeping with the peculiarity of John not to mention his own name, if he also does not mention his mother,[245] or even his brother James, by name (see on John 1:42), and as, according to Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, Salome was also amongst the above-named women, Wieseler’s view, which is not throughout opposed by any well-founded doubts,[246] is to be deemed not “a mere learned refinement” (Hengstenberg), but correct, so that thus the unnamed ἡ ἀδελφὴ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ is Salome, the mother of John.

ἡ τοῦ Κλωπᾶ] The wife of Klopas, according to Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, Luke 24:10, mother of the younger James, hence Klopas is to be taken as Alphaeus, הלפי, Matthew 10:3. According to Ewald, on the other hand, the mother of Kleopas, Luke 24:18, and according to Beza: the wife of this Kleopas.

Μαγδαλ.] See on Matthew 27:56.

That Jesus enjoins on John to care for Mary, although the latter had several sons of her own, is not sufficiently explained by the unbelief of the brothers (John 7:5), for His speedy triumph over this (Acts 1:14) could not be hidden from Him (John 2:24-25); but it presupposes the certainty in His mind that generally to no other’s hand could this dear legacy[247] be so well entrusted. That Mary had no other sons (see in opposition to this John 7:3, and on Matthew 1:25) is, indeed, still inferred by Hengstenberg. For ΓΎΝΑΙ, comp. on John 2:4.

The words to the disciple, behold thy mother, meet no stumbling-block in the fact that he had his own actual mother, nay, that she herself was also present (see on John 19:25), but leave his relation to the latter untouched, and form with the ἴδε ὁ υἱός σου a parallelism, which expresses the filial care and protection which Mary, on the one hand, was to expect from John; which John, on the other hand, was to exercise towards Mary.

καὶ ἀπʼ ἐκείνης τῆς ὥρας, κ.τ.λ.] Not to be regarded as a parenthesis; to be taken with strict literality, that John forthwith, after Jesus had accomplished His end upon the cross, entered on his charge. Whether and where he possessed a property of his own is matter of conjecture. If he received Mary into his dwelling, into his family circle, formed by Salome, and perhaps by his brother, then εἰς τὰ ἴδια (comp. John 16:32) was a correct expression. Ewald well remarks on such traits of individual significance in the Gospel of John: “it was for him at a late period of life a sweet reward to call up reminiscences of all that was most vivid, but for the readers it is also, without his will, a token that only he could have written all this.” If, indeed, the designation of the disciple beloved by Jesus as a self-designation were a vanity (Scholten), nay, an arrogant and scornful self-exaltation (Weisse), then it could not have been he who wrote all this. But the consciousness of pre-eminent love on the part of the Lord, true, clear, and still glowing with all intensity and strength, in the heart of the old man, is inconceivable without the deepest humility, and this humility, which has long since ceased to have anything in common with the feeling evinced in Mark 10:35 ff., Luke 9:54, has precisely in that most simple of all expressions, ὃν ἠγάπα, its most correspondent expression and its necessary and sacred justification, which is as little to be passed over in silence, or to be denied, as is the consciousness of Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:10.

[245] He does, indeed, name in John 21:2 his father. But the latter appears so without participation in the evangelical history, that he might appear to John’s mind in his Christian relation, especially in the late period of the composition of the appendix, chap. 21, more foreign and remote, and that consequently a hesitation might not exist in reference to naming him, as there did in the case of the mother, founded on a delicate and more spiritual consideration.—Scholten changes the mother into an allegorical person, in whom the Church is represented, to care for which was to be incumbent on John, not on Peter. So substantially also Späth in Hilgenfeld, ZeitsChr. 1868, p. 187.

[246] Insufficient objections in Luthardt, Brückner, Baeumlein, Weizsäcker, and others. According to Euth. Zigabenus, Ebrard, Hengstenberg, and several others, ἀδελφή would signify sister-in-law.

[247] This noblest blossom of dying piety is violently removed into a sphere foreign to it, if it is transported into dogmatic ground, as Steinmeyer, p. 200, does. According to him, the death of the Atoner for all men, as such, has completely cut asunder the tie that hitherto existed; by this death Jesus departed out of every naturally-conditioned individual fellowship, and like Melchizedek must also appear as ἀμήτωφ. Of such a meaning, John gives not the slightest indication.John 19:25. This part of the scene is closed (that another may be introduced) with the common formula, οἱ μὲν οὖν στρατιῶται ταῦτα ἐποίησαν. (“Graeci … saepissime hujusmodi conclusiunculis utuntur.” Raphel in loc.) οἱ μὲνεἱστήκεισαν δὲ … The soldiers for their part acted as has been related, but there were others beside the cross who were very differently affected. ἡ μήτηρΜαγδαληνή. It is doubtful whether it is meant that three or that four women were standing by the cross; for Μαρία ἡ τοῦ Κλωπᾶ may either be a further designation of ἡ ἀδελφὴ τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ, or it may name the first member of a second pair of women. That four women are intended may be argued from the extreme improbability that in one family two sisters should bear the same name, Mary. The Synoptists do not name the mother of Jesus among those who were present, but Matthew (Matthew 27:56) and Mark (Mark 15:40) name Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome the mother of John. Two of these three are mentioned by John here, and it is natural to infer that the unnamed woman (ἡ ἀδελφὴ κ. τ. λ.) is the third, Salome; unnamed possibly because of this writer’s shyness in naming himself or those connected with him. But the fact that Luke (Luke 24:10) names Joanna as the third woman reflects some uncertainty on this argument. If Salome was Mary’s sister, then Jesus and John were cousins, and the commendation of Mary to John’s care is in part explained. ἡ τοῦ Κλωπᾶ may mean the mother, daughter, sister, or wife of Klopas; probably the last. According to Matthew 27:56, Mark 15:40, Luke 24:10, the Mary here mentioned was the mother of James and Joses. But in Matthew 10:3 we learn that James was the son of Alphaeus. Hence it is inferred that Klopas and Alphaeus are two slightly varying forms of the same name תַלְפַי.25. Now there stood] Or, But there were standing. By two small particles (men in John 19:23 and de here), scarcely translatable in English, S. John indicates the contrast between the two groups. On the one hand, the four plundering soldiers with the centurion; on the other, the four ministering women with the beloved disciple.

his mother’s sister, Mary] The Greek, like the English, leaves us in doubt whether we here have two women or one, whether altogether there are four women or three. The former is much the more probable alternative. (1) It avoids the very improbable supposition of two sisters having the same name. (2) S. John is fond of parallel expressions; ‘His mother and His mother’s sister, Mary of Clopas and Mary Magdalene’ are two pairs set one against the other. (3) S. Mark (Mark 15:40) mentions Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less, and Salome. Mary Magdalene is common to both narratives, ‘Mary the mother of James the Less’ is the same as ‘Mary of Clopas:’ the natural inference is that Salome is the same as ‘His mother’s sister.’ If this is correct, (4) S. John’s silence about the name of ‘His mother’s sister’ is explained: she was his own mother, and he is habitually reserved about all closely connected with himself. We have seen already that he never mentions either his own name, or his brother’s, or the Virgin’s. (5) The very ancient Peshito or Syriac Version adopts this view by inserting ‘and’ before ‘Mary the (wife) of Clopas.’

the wife of Cleophas] Rather, the wife of Clopas. The Greek is simply ‘the of Clopas,’ and ‘the daughter of Clopas’ may be right, or ‘the mother,’ or even ‘the sister:’ but ‘wife’ is more probably to be supplied. There is no reason for identifying Clopas here with Cleopas in Luke 24:18 : Clopas is Aramaic, Cleopas is Greek. The spelling Cleophas is a mistake derived from Latin MSS. All Greek authorities have Cleopas. If ‘wife’ is rightly inserted, and she is the mother of James the Less, Clopas is the same as Alphaeus (Matthew 10:3; comp. Matthew 27:56). It is said that Clopas and Alphaeus may be different forms of the same Aramaic name.

Mary Magdalene] Introduced, like the Twelve (John 6:67) and Pilate (John 18:29) abruptly and without explanation, as being quite familiar to the readers of the Gospel. See on Matthew 27:56 and Luke 8:2.John 19:25. Εἱστήκεισαν, there were standing) John from modesty does not mention his own mother Salome, who also stood by [Mark 15:40].—ἡ ἀδελφὴ, the sister) No brother of Mary is mentioned. She herself was heir of her father, and was therefore transmitting to Jesus the right to the kingdom of David.Verse 25. - But there were standing by the cross of Jesus. Matthew says (Matthew 28:55; Mark 15:40, 41) that many women stood afar off beholding these things, and amongst them Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James (the less, i.e. the son of Alphaeus) and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children, expressly identified here as elsewhere with Salerno, "women who followed him from Galilee" (Luke 23:55), and ministered unto him. The παρὰ of this verse implies that, in the courage of their love and tenderness, they had drawn nearer to the cross, led on as it would seem by his mother herself, whom John with fuller knowledge mentions as the most important member of one group. John adds, and the sister of his mother, then (it must be admitted without any conjunctive καὶ) he adds, Mary the (wife) of Clopas, and Mary Magdalen. Κλωπᾶς is by almost all admitted to be identifiable with חַלְפַי, Alphaeus, of Matthew 10:3. Consequently, "the Mary (of Clopos)" is none other than the mother of James the less-known disciple, as well as of others. And this second Mary is identically the same as the Mary spoken of in Matthew and Mark by slightly different phraseology. The question arises - Does John here speak, then, of four women? or does he say that this Mary was the sister of the Virgin Mary? If "Mary the wife of Clopas" be the sister of the Virgin, then James the less, Joses, and others are cousins of our Lord. This hypothesis has been used by those who identify these men with the "brethren of the Lord;" but it is rendered improbable by the fact referred to twice over in the synoptists and John, that his "brethren did not believe in him," and the growing certainty that "James the brother of our Lord" was not "James the less." Moreover, it is improbable that two sisters should have the same name. The other supposition is that the third woman mentioned by the synoptists (namely, Salome, the mother of Zebedee's sons) was the sister of the mother of Jesus. Against this is the non-appearance of the καί between the second and third names. This absence may be simply due to the fact that John mentions "two and two," singling them out from "the many women," according to his wont. Against it, Godet and others have urged that we have no other hint of the relationship; but of many similar facts throughout the Gospel we have only the slenderest indications - take, for instance, the identification of Judas (not Iscariot) with Lebbaeus and Thaddseus; Nathanael with Bartholomew - and there is much which makes the identification natural. It is after the manner of John to omit the name of Salerno, as he always does his own throughout the Gospel and Epistles. But the entire narrative from beginning to end is illumined by the fact that John was the near relative of Jesus. The ὅν ἠγάπα flashes into light and justification at once. Very much, both in the synoptic and Johannine narratives, receives a deeper meaning. The early friendship, the private ministry of our Lord, with John as his principal companion, the request of Salome, and the exquisite incident which now follows, all receive a richer meaning when it becomes clear that Salome was so nearly related to Jesus. In this conclusion Wieseler, Luthardt, Lange, Westcott, Sears, Moulton, Schaff, and others coincide, though Meyer and Hengstenberg take the other view. Hengstenberg thinks the tradition of three Marys is enough to counterbalance what he calls a learned device! Assuming, then, that John was so dear a friend, so near a relative, we understand better what follows. There stood

Imperfect tense, were standing.

Mary Magdalene

Strictly, the (ἡ) Magdalene. She is introduced abruptly, as well known.

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