“Now standing beside Jesus’ cross were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. So when Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, look, here is your son!’ He then said to his disciple, ‘Look, here is your mother!’ From that very time the disciple took her into his own home.” —John 19:25–27
Our verses for today record a beautiful incident amidst the clamor and hatred of the Jews and the mocking of the Roman soldiers. The tender affections of the pious women who attended our Lord’s needs throughout His ministry until His crucifixion are here amidst the taunting crowds and rough soldiers. These women were determined to stand by Jesus until the very end in a demonstration of their holy affection and gratitude towards Him. While His enemies eagerly crowned Him with thorns, these women crowned Him with their love and compassion, consoling Him with their faithfulness.
Our Lord was a condemned criminal, hated by the chief priests, and executed by the Romans. It was certainly courageous, admirable, and selfless of these women to take their place by the Lord throughout His abhorrent ordeal. They were neither deterred by the fury of the enemy nor the horror of the sight. Their actions were proof of their love for their Savior. Yet, all the while their hearts were breaking under the sight of the Suffering Servant. Unable to rescue or relieve Him, their hearts must have been breaking. These women were a testimony to God’s love being made complete in them. Certainly they were strengthened by divine grace and power throughout this ordeal. I am reminded of the words penned by Paul:
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” —2 Corinthians 12:9
Surely the prophecy Simeon had proclaimed to the Lord’s mother Mary when Jesus was yet an infant reached its fulfillment at this time—a sword had to be piercing her soul at the sight of her suffering Son:
“Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, ‘Listen carefully: This child is destined to be the cause of the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be rejected. Indeed, as a result of him the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul as well!’” —Luke 2:34–35
And yet, at this very difficult time, Jesus did not forget His mother. He saw her deep distress and tenderly cared for her desolate condition. He commended her to the care of John, the most loving and tender-hearted of His disciples. Jesus’ love surpasses knowledge. The mighty love and affection of Jesus knows no limit.
Surely Jesus’ words from the cross served as yet another example of why these women loved Him so. Suffering and in great anguish, the width and depth of our Lord’s sympathies and affections still shone through His darkest hour. Even in this trying season of bodily and mental anguish, Jesus did not forget others. Every word He uttered from the cross benefitted His hearers.
“I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he will grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ will dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, you will be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you will be filled up to all the fullness of God.” —Ephesians 3:16–19
“Rise up, O men of God! Have done with lesser things. Give heart and soul and mind and strength to serve the King of kings. Lift high the cross of Christ! Tread where His feet have trod. As brothers of the Son of Man, rise up, O men of God!” —William P. Merrill, “Rise Up, O Men of God”