The Third Word from the Cross
John 19:26, 27
When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he said to his mother, Woman, behold your son!

Whoever of our Lord's friends, followers, and kindred were absent during the awful hours of the Crucifixion, we know that his nearest relative, his mother, was there, and that his most intimate and congenial friend and disciple, John, was a witness of the solemn scene. These, with some others, lingered by the cross. Not unseen by the dying Redeemer, his nearest friends were the objects of his affectionate regard; and, as these verses relate, some of his last thoughts were of them, and his last provision concerned their future relations.

I. WE CANNOT BUT REVERENTIALLY ADMIRE THE SELF-FORGETFULNESS OF THE CRUCIFIED REDEEMER. The absorbing nature of extreme bodily suffering is well known. In the hour of agony it is hard for the sufferer to think of aught but his own pains and torture. We know that the Lord Jesus was exquisitely sensitive to suffering. Yet even amidst the anguish of body and of mind which he was then enduring, the Savior was able to turn away his thoughts from himself to her who gave him birth, who had often shared the honors and the trials of his ministry, and who had now, with noble fortitude and sympathy, come to witness his death.

II. WE ARE INSTRUCTED BY THE REVELATION OF THE HIGH PLACE WHICH HUMAN LOVE HELD IN OUR SAVIOR'S HEART. Mary was now advancing in life; her husband Joseph was probably dead. Her long-proved affection was reciprocated by that Son whose filial devotion had been perfect, and who had not now to remember one unfilial act, or word, or even thought. As he looked upon her he saw that the prediction was now fulfilled, "A sword shall pierce through thine own heart also." He had loved her all his life, and his love was never more grateful, more tender, more compassionate, than now. He was bearing the burden of a world's sin and sorrow; yet there was room in his sacred heart for affectionate thoughts of his beloved mother. John, too, who records this incident, in which he occupied a part so prominent, took pleasure in speaking of himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." He had reclined on the Master's breast at the Supper: right and meet it was that he should take his station at his Master's cross. Jesus, who had loved him in life, cherished the same affection towards John in this his own hour of anguish. As it would have been a comfort to Jesus had his three favored apostles watched with him in the garden, so no doubt it was a comfort to him that the beloved disciple was standing hard by the cross of ignominy and woe. Jesus loved his friend for his faithfulness, and rewarded him for it even in the hour of his own decease. We thus recognize with gratitude the persistence of Immanuel's tender affection: "Having loved his own... he loved them even to the end."

III. WE ARE ASTONISHED AT THE FORETHOUGHT AND WISDOM EXERCISED BY THE DYING SAVIOR. He had already prayed for his murderers; he had already cheered his fellow-sufferer by words of grace and promise. He now turned his thoughtful regard to the mother who stood weeping among her friends. The arrangement which he proposed was one the propriety and suitableness of which are most apparent. Who so fit to take his place - as far as that place could be taken - as the beloved disciple? There is a pathetic grace and beauty in the language in which Jesus commended the two to each other. He acknowledged the mother's fidelity and devotion to himself; he foresaw the desolation which must come to her; he provided for her not only a protector and a home, but that solace which would come with common memories and mutual sympathy. There were those, perhaps, nearer of kin, but none could be nearer in heart, to Mary than Jesus' most intimate and trusted friend. Thus it was secured that Mary should be removed from the distressing scene, and should be assured of constant and affectionate tendance. Nor can we doubt that this arrangement was a permanent one - that Mary enjoyed the friendship and ministrations of John until she went to see her Son in that glory which followed upon his bitter humiliation. Thus love and wisdom went together in this as in preceding acts of the Son of man. And what Jesus said and did upon this occasion was an earnest of his work for humanity at large. Hone are so happy, so safe, so strong, as those to whom the Savior reveals his heart, and for whom he in his wisdom takes holy, helpful thought. - T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

WEB: Therefore when Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold your son!"

The Third Word
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