This is a summary of the sermon preached on March 17, 2019.
- Date: Sunday March 17, 2019
- Venue: A Sunday service at a church in Tokyo
- Title: "Love on the Cross"
- Scriptures: John 19:25-27
25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
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The Gospel writers recorded seven words which Jesus spoke on the cross. We’re going to take a look at the third words of Jesus from the cross in John 19:26-27, which in the Gospel of John are actually His first words from the cross. We’ll try to find out what we can learn from them about Jesus, His character/nature, and also try to see how God/Jesus wants us to live.
Words in pain
Jesus had been flogged before the crucifixion. When He was crucified, His hands and feet were nailed to the cross. While up on the cross, Jesus still suffered from dreadful pain. He was striving for His life on the cross.
In such terrible pain, He noticed His mother and the disciple He loved, who is thought to be John, standing nearby. And first Jesus said to His mother, Mary, “Woman, here is your son” (v. 26), and then to John, “Here is your mother” (v. 27).
Words of the Messiah
Until this point, you don’t see Jesus’ mother so often in the Gospel of John. In fact she appears only once at the wedding in Cana in 2:1-11 (and her name appears only twice in 2:12 and 6:42). There Mary reported the situation to Jesus, saying, “They have no more wine” (2:3). In response, Jesus says in 2:4, “Woman, why do you involve me? My hour has not yet come.”
Notice here that Jesus called His mother “Woman” as He did on the cross. This term “woman” is a polite word, which can be used for any woman (Cf. 4:21; 8:10; 20:15). But you usually wouldn’t use that to call your own mother. So in a sense, you see a kind of distance between Jesus and Mary, that is, the distance between the teacher or the Messiah and a disciple.
After calling Mary “woman,” Jesus goes on to say in 2:4 “why do you involve me? My hour has not yet come.” This is a gentle rejection of hope or expectation which Mary had as His mother. Jesus is saying effectively,
Words at the hour
Notice here also the reason why Jesus was denying Mary’s request; He says “My hour has not yet come.” But,
In the gospel of John, it is clear that
So in chapter two of John, Jesus’ time to die on the cross had not yet come, but in chapter 19 that time has finally come.
But why does Jesus ask John to take care of Mary in chapter 19?
Perhaps, when the hour has come for Jesus to die on the cross to show His love to the world as the Messiah, Jesus was showing His love also to His own mother by making sure that her physical life would be in good hands.
This may be so. But I think there would be more to it than that.
It is true that Jesus loved His mother and cared for her physical needs. But if that is what He really wanted to tell her from the cross, I think He wouldn’t have called her “Woman” but “mom.”
The reason why Jesus called Mary “woman” on the cross is because
So here in vv. 26-27 at the hour when Jesus was laying down His own life to save the world, Jesus was speaking to two disciples standing nearby, and He asked them to take care of each other.
This is indeed the command which Jesus had already given to His disciples at the Last Supper. In John 15:12-13, Jesus says
“12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
As Jesus was fulfilling His mission on the cross, Jesus was concerned about His disciples, including His mother, that they might love one another as He had loved them.
Normally if we are in excruciating pain, all we can think of would be the pain itself. But that was not the case for Jesus.
How could it be possible? Well,
And that is how He loves us. He always thinks more about others than Himself (Cf. Phil. 2:3-5).
That is why God Himself took human flesh to come down to the earth in order to save us. He did not have to save us. We’re all deserved to perish because of our own sins.
God always thinks more about us than Himself.
He laid down His own life for us not because we have done something good to Him or because we could be of any help/use for Him. But
We are God’s treasured possession. We are precious and honored in His eyes.
Some of you may feel unsatisfied in your life for some reason. You’ve got money, job, friends, fame, and all that. Yet you feel you’re still missing something in your life. If that’s the case, perhaps, it may be God’s love that fully satisfies you. That’s the love which accepts you the way you are.
Some of you may feel stressed because of so much stress/pressure from school, work, or even family. You may be exhausted by trying to be somebody other than yourself in order to be accepted by others. If so, remember God loves you the way you are. You don’t have to earn His favor. You can be you before God. He knows all about you, good or bad. Yet still He accepts you the way you are.
Even some others may feel that nobody understands you or likes you. You may feel so lonely, isolated, or even ignored. You feel you can’t fit in anywhere. If so, know that Jesus knows you, and He understands your thoughts and feelings. Jesus thinks about you more than anything. He loves you the way you are.
We’re all so loved that God’s only Son, Jesus, has died for us on the cross. And now
Of course, this is not an easy task at all. But good news is that we’re not alone to this end. We’ve got the Holy Spirit on our side. And He will empower us and guide us through if we allow Him.
Bibliography and Notes
- Burge, Gary M. John. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2000.
- Carson, D. A. The Gospel according to John. Reprint edition. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990.
- Keener, Craig S. The Gospel of John: A Commentary. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2003.
- Michaels, J Ramsey. The Gospel of John. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2010.