Then said he to the disciple, Behold your mother! And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Behold thy mother!—The solemn committal is a double one. The loving heart of the disciple should find, as well as give, sympathy and support in the love of the mother. The sympathy in their common loss is to be the source of love for each other.
And from that hour.—The words do not necessarily mean, but they certainly may mean, that St. John at once took Mary away from the scene that a mother’s heart could hardly bear; but he is himself present (John 19:35), and the whole account, brief as it is, is that of an eye-witness.
Unto his own home.—Comp. Note on John 1:11, and Introduction, pp. 369, 371. The word is used in John 16:32 of the lodging or sojourning place of the Apostles. The meaning here is that whatever was his home became hers.
From that hour ... - John seems to have been in better circumstances than the other apostles. See John 18:16. Tradition says that she continued to live with him in Judea until the time of her death, which occurred about fifteen years after the death of Christ.
from that hour … took her to his own home—or, home with him; for his father Zebedee and his mother Salome were both alive, and the latter here present (Mr 15:40). See on Mt 13:55. Now occurred the supernatural darkness, recorded by all the other Evangelists, but not here. "Now from the sixth hour (twelve o'clock, noon) there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour" (Mt 27:45). No ordinary eclipse of the sun could have occurred at this time, it being then full moon, and this obscuration lasted about twelve times the length of any ordinary eclipse. (Compare Ex 10:21, 23). Beyond doubt, the divine intention of the portent was to invest this darkest of all tragedies with a gloom expressive of its real character. "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried, Eli, Eli, Lama Sabachthani … My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Mt 27:46). As the darkness commenced at the sixth hour, the second of the Jewish hours of prayer, so it continued till the ninth hour, the hour of the evening sacrifice, increasing probably in depth, and reaching its deepest gloom at the moment of this mysterious cry, when the flame of the one great "Evening Sacrifice" was burning fiercest. The words were made to His hand. They are the opening words of a Psalm (Ps 22:1) full of the last "sufferings of Christ and the following glories" (1Pe 1:11). "Father," was the cry in the first prayer which He uttered on the cross, for matters had not then come to the worst. "Father" was the cry of His last prayer, for matters had then passed their worst. But at this crisis of His sufferings, "Father" does not issue from His lips, for the light of a Father's countenance was then mysteriously eclipsed. He falls back, however, on a title expressive of His official relation, which, though lower and more distant in itself, yet when grasped in pure and naked faith was mighty in its claims, and rich in psalmodic associations. And what deep earnestness is conveyed by the redoubling of this title! But as for the cry itself, it will never be fully comprehended. An absolute desertion is not indeed to be thought of; but a total eclipse of the felt sense of God's presence it certainly expresses. It expre'sses surprise, as under the experience of something not only never before known, but inexplicable on the footing which had till then subsisted between Him and God. It is a question which the lost cannot utter. They are forsaken, but they know why. Jesus is forsaken, but does not know and demands to know why. It is thus the cry of conscious innocence, but of innocence unavailing to draw down, at that moment, the least token of approval from the unseen Judge—innocence whose only recognition at that moment lay in the thick surrounding gloom which but reflected the horror of great darkness that invested His own spirit. There was indeed a cause for it, and He knew it too—the "why" must not be pressed so far as to exclude this. He must taste this bitterest of the wages of sin "who did no sin" (1Pe 2:22). But that is not the point now. In Him there was no cause at all (Joh 14:30) and He takes refuge in the glorious fact. When no ray from above shines in upon Him, He strikes a light out of His own breast. If God will not own Him, He shall own Himself. On the rock of His unsullied allegiance to Heaven He will stand, till the light of Heaven returns to His spirit. And it is near to come. While He is yet speaking, the fierceness of the flame is beginning to abate. One incident and insult more, and the experience of one other predicted element of suffering, and the victory is His. The incident, and the insult springing out of it, is the misunderstanding of the cry, for we can hardly suppose that it was anything else. "Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias" (Mt 27:47).
behold thy mother; take care of her, and provide for her, as if she was thine own mother: this shows the meanness of Christ, who had nothing to leave her, though Lord of all; it is very probable that Joseph was dead, and Mary now a widow; and whereas Christ had taken care of her, and maintained her hitherto, he now, in his dying moments, commits her to the care of this disciple; which is an instance of his humanity, and of his regard to every duty; and this in particular, of honouring parents, and providing for them in distress, and old age:
and hour that disciple took her to his own home: or house; so the Septuagint render "to his house", by , in Esther 6:12 the phrase here used, and in John 16:32. Some say she lived with John at Jerusalem, and there died; and others say, that she died in the twelfth year after the resurrection of Christ, being 59 years of age, and was buried by John in the garden of Gethsemane: where his house was is not certain, whether at Jerusalem or in Galilee, nor how long she lived with him; but this is not to be doubted, that he took care of her, and provided for her, as if she was his own mother; and his doing this forthwith shows his great regard to Christ, his readiness and cheerfulness to comply with his orders and directions, and his unfeigned love unto him.Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 19:27. And this trust He commits to John in the simple words, Ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ σου, although his natural mother, Salome, was also standing there. [Cf. the bequest of Eudamidas: “I leave to Aretaeus the care of nourishing and providing for my mother in her old age”. Lucian’s Toxaris.] John at once accepted the charge, “from that hour (which cannot be taken so stringently as to imply that they did not wait at the cross to see the end) the disciple took her to his own home”; εἰς τὰ ἴδια, see John 1:11, John 16:32. The circumstances of the Nazareth home which made this a possible and desirable arrangement are not known. That Mary should find a home with her sister and her son is in itself intelligible, and this close intimacy of the two persons whose hearts had been most truly the home of Jesus must have helped to cherish and vivify all reminiscences of His character and words.27. from that hour] Quite literally, as soon as all was over (John 19:30); or he may have led her away at once and then have returned (John 19:35).
unto his own home] Although the commendation was double, each being given to the other, yet (as was natural) S. John assumes the care of Mary rather than she of him. This shews the untenability of the view that not only S. John, but in him all the Apostles, were committed by Christ to the guardianship of Mary. We have had the Greek expression for ‘his own (home)’ twice already in this Gospel: see on John 1:11 and John 16:32. That S. John was known to the high-priest (John 18:15) and that his family had hired servants (Mark 1:20) would seem to imply that he was a man of some position and substance.John 19:27. Ἡ μήτηρ σου) thy mother, both by natural and spiritual grade of relationship and of age; the care of whom do thou take in charge in My stead. This consequence the love of the disciple easily deduced from the brief sentence spoken by Jesus. The sword had already enough “pierced into the soul” of Mary: now a precaution is taken that she may not see and hear the most severe trials of all—the darkness, the dereliction of the Son by the Father, the death.—ἔλαβεν, took) Perhaps he had not ventured to do so until he was desired.—εἰς τὰ ἴδια, to his own) viz. home. Great was the faith of Mary to stand by the cross of her Son; great her obedience, to depart before His death. [At least the disciple immediately gave proofs (indications) that he would comply with the wish of Jesus, and subsequently (then next) he took His mother to his own home: whether he did so in that very hour, before the death of the Lord and the piercing of His side (in which case John must have returned to the cross, John 19:35, “He that saw it [the piercing of the side] bare record”); or whether his doing so took place not until afterwards. Therefore the dwelling of John was at Jerusalem, and in that dwelling the mother of Jesus stayed during subsequent times.—V. g.]Verse 27. - (b) Filial love - "Behold thy mother!" and the issue. Then he saith to the disciple, Behold thy mother! The very garments that covered him had been rudely divided among the soldiers. He is therefore as a dead man, and yet he made the most royal gifts and precious assignments of that which was nevertheless inalienable. He gave a mother to his dearest friend. He gave a son most precious to the bereaved and desolate and broken heart of his widowed mother. Inconceivable that Weisse should call this "the basest self-adulation." The animus manifested to this document by a certain school partakes of the animosity of political partisanship. From that hour, says the evangelist, the disciple took her (εἰς τὰ ἴδια) to his own home. This may have been some temporary lodging in Jerusalem, but it is more probable, as we have seen, that Salome and John had homes both in Jerusalem (see Introduction, p. 56.) and Capernaum. The mere phrase is used in John 16:32 in a more general sense of all the apostles. It is not necessary to believe that John at once removed the sacred deposit and bequest of his dying Lord to that home, though it is just possible. Bengel and many others think so, but it is not necessary to limit the meaning of "hour" to moment. The departure could hardly have taken place till all was over. In this brief reference a key is given to what John became to the Church. We must think of Salerno and John ever by the holy mother of the Lord, whether at Jerusalem, Capernaum, or Ephesus. The few words speak volumes, and his reticence here, as elsewhere, gives an unutterable grandeur to his words.
See on John 1:11.
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