Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
William P. Merrill, Rise Up, O Men of God
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 and crowned Him with thorns, these women crowned Him with their love and compassion, consoling Him with their faithfulness.
Remembering that 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 ladies 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 glorious 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 [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient 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 Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (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.
Take It to Heart
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)
“His love is unfailing, His Word unchangeable, His power ever the same; therefore the heart that trusts Him is kept in ‘perfect peace’… I know He tries me only to increase my faith, and that it is all in love. Well, if He is glorified, I am content.”(Hudson Taylor)