Here is number 2 in the series on the seven last saying of our Lord on the cross. Here in Ireland, you really have to divorce Jesus from His mother, because everybody really believes SHE did more at the cross than Jesus did!

Craig Ledbetter

Woman, Behold thy Son!

The Seven Last Sayings on the Cross – Message 2

John 19:25-27

DATE: 22 Feb, 2004 PM         PLACE: BBC Blarney


I.         Introduction:


A.      Once again we journey to a hill far away where there stands an old rugged cross.

B.       The imagery of our hymns is wonderful:


1.        A cross that’s the emblem of suffering and shame.

2.        A cross where burdens of my heart have been rolled away.

3.        A cross where there is no other way than this.

4.        A cross where there flows a precious fountain.

5.        A cross where all my sins were washed away; and sin’s dark night was turned into day.

6.        No wonder the Apostle Paul wrote in (Galatians 6:14) "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."


C.       This is the second time our Saviour has spoken since He was nailed to that cross. The first time He asked for forgiveness of all mankind, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." This time He is committing the care of His mother to John and John’s care to His mother.

D.      What an unusual conversation around that cross – that Jesus would be so concerned about who was going to take care of His mother.

E.       It is an example of two things:


1.        How the Lord takes care of every detail of our lives

2.        How that the Lord wants us to take care of each other as family


II.       Message


A.      The Desire of a Small Group.


1.        Most of the crowd standing at the base of Golgotha were there for entertainment

2.        Some, like the disciples, where there out of shock – i.e., Peter

3.        But a few, and it was only FOUR people, that were there out of commitment


a.       Mary the mother of Jesus

b.       Mary, the wife of Cleophas, which was Mary’s sister

c.       Mary Magdalene

d.       And the Apostle John, known as John the Beloved


4.        Only these four wanted to be NEAR to Jesus


a.       Even though there was great shame and mockery going on around Him

b.       Even though Jesus was very unpopular

c.       Even if it got the soldiers and Pilate upset


5.        Here were four people who wanted a good look t the crucifixion


a.       Its horrors

b.       Its Victim – didn’t go to see the crucifixion itself, but He who was crucified. They loved HIM!

c.       Its crushing power

d.       Its seeming finality

e.       If anybody saw the crucifixion for what it really was, these four did


B.       The Pain of a Mother.


1.        See here the tender affection of these women toward our Lord Jesus in his sufferings. When all his disciples, except John, had forsaken him, these four still continued their commitment to Him.

2.        They could not rescue him nor relieve him, yet they stayed near him, to show their devotion.

3.        But that is all it was!


a.       It is an impious and blasphemous construction which some of the catholic writers put upon Mary standing by the cross, that seemingly she contributed to the satisfaction he made for our sins, and so became a joint-mediatrix and co-adjutrix in our salvation.

b.       She suffered as mother, but not as a Saviour!

c.       The catholic idea:


1)       Mary offered her son for the sins of the world

2)       Mary suffered with Jesus, and it was part of man’s redemption just as Christ’s was

3)       The Roman Catholic Church insists that she was given the position of mediatrix, entrusted with treasures of His grace, and given the responsibility of distributing His bounty. They call her the "Queen of Heaven," the "Mother of God," and a score of other high sounding titles.

4)       CCC, 964 Mary's role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it. 'This union of the mother with the Son in the work of salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to his death';502 it is made manifest above all at the hour of his Passion:

5)       Thus the Blessed Virgin advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union with her Son unto the cross. There she stood, in keeping with the divine plan, enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, joining herself with his sacrifice in her mother's heart, and lovingly consenting to the immolation of this victim, born of her: to be given, by the same Christ Jesus dying on the cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words: 'Woman, behold your son.

6)       CCC, III. Mary - Eschatological Icon of the Church


a)       972 After speaking of the Church, her origin, mission and destiny, we can find no better way to conclude than by looking to Mary. In her we contemplate what the Church already is in her mystery on her own 'pilgrimage of faith', and what she will be in the homeland at the end of her journey. There, 'in the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity', 'in the communion of all the saints',5I6 the Church is awaited by the one she venerates as Mother of her Lord and as her own mother.

b)       In the meantime the Mother of Jesus, in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come. Likewise she shines forth on earth, until the day of the Lord shall come, a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God.


7)       IN BRIEF


a)       973 By pronouncing her 'fiat' at the Annunciation and giving her consent to the Incarnation, Mary was already collaborating with the whole work her Son was to accomplish. She is mother wherever he is Saviour and head of the Mystical Body.

b)       974 The Most Blessed Virgin Mary, when the course of her earthly life was completed, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven, where she already shares in the glory of her Son's Resurrection, anticipating the resurrection of all members of his Body.

c)       975 'We believe that the Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven to exercise her maternal role on behalf of the members of Christ'.


d.       Jesus, in the Scriptures, is never recorded as calling her “mother.” He always called her “woman.” However, He used the word “woman” with all tenderness, respect, and honor. Why did He not call her “mother?” Well, Jesus was no mere Palestinian peasant. He was Almighty God incarnated in human flesh. He knew that thousands would go to Hell because of the heresy of Mariolatry, and He would lend no support to this heresy. And it is happening before our very eyes. Mary is no mediatrix between God and man. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”(1 Timothy 2:5).


1)       He was saying that their relationship as mother and Son ceased that day.

2)       It was not that Jesus did not love her. He loved her more than you and I love our mothers. Our love for our mothers is diluted and polluted with human depravity. His love for His mother was perfect natural affection; He had no depravity!!!

3)       To Mary, this was devastating. But He was suffering a million times more in the assignment than she. If you have any tears, do not waste them on Mary. She found out that it was far more wonderful to be the daughter of the Christ than the mother of the human Jesus. She said so in her song in Luke 1:46-56. Did she call Him her son? No, she called Him her Saviour, Lord, and God!!! Amen and amen!!!


4.        What an affliction it was to these women to see him abused, especially to Mary His mother.


a.       Now was fulfilled Simeon’s word from 33 years earlier, “A sword shall pierce through thy own soul,” (Lu 2:35).

b.       His torments on that cross were her tortures;

c.       she was upon the rack, while he was upon the cross;

d.       Her heart bled with his wounds;

e.       And all the reproaches and mockeries that they reproached him with fell on her as well as His mother.

f.        We have to admire the power of God’s divine grace in supporting these women, especially Mary, under this heavy trial. We do not find his mother wringing her hands, or tearing her hair, or rending her clothes, or making an outcry; but, with a wonderful composure, standing by the cross, and her friends being with her.

g.       Mary probably knew better than all, even than the other apostles, that this Man was no normal man, but something was going on bigger than any of them could imagine. Mary just stood there, and pondered all that His life meant to her and to this world. And because of that, she could remain standing near to the cross in expectation, instead of only defeat.


C.       Family Matters.


1.        Jesus, about to face the wrath of God for all sins of all people for all time, took time, for what the world might consider little things.

2.        As He hung there eternal destinies of all mankind hung in the balance. The most important work ever done by any man was taking place that day, yet Jesus took time to finish some unfinished business. What unfinished business do you have?


a.       He took time to remind us of the importance of family and personal responsibilities.

b.       He took time for others. When most of us would have been thinking about our own problems, Jesus always put others first.

c.       Jesus had enough confidence in Him to place the care of His mother in his hands. Importance of "trust" and ‘testimony." How much trust does the Savior have in you?

d.       John had left with others but he came back


3.        Jesus was the firstborn son of the family – but not the only child (Mt 13:55,56)

4.        But Jesus’ half-brothers were untrustworthy of taking care of Mother


a.       No welfare

b.       No nursing home

c.       Mom was supposed to live and die among loving family, and at home!

d.       So Jesus overlooks the other brothers, and turns responsibility over to His closest Disciple – NOT Peter!


D.      False Conclusions About This Event


1.        That Mary is given great honour here

2.        That the apostles were to care for Mary, and adore her

3.        That Mary would be worshipped by the apostles

4.        That Mary has any part in the mediatory action of Christ on the cross. But, she has no power or ability to intercede for the benefit of others. (1 Timothy 2:5) "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;" Jesus taught much about praying but He nor any other Bible writer ever hinted that we should pray to her.

5.        That Mary is a type of the Church

6.        That the Apostles were to care for the Church like they would Christ’s Mother

7.        And so on


E.       Right Conclusions About This Events


1.        Christ’s limited humanity ended that day – as did His connection with Mary. Now in heaven, Jesus is still human, but not like He was on earth. He certainly does not have any connection with his mother in heaven. Jesus basically "divorced" his relationship between Himself and the woman that had born Him into the world. Their relationship as Son and Mother was OVER!!!

2.        Christians MUST take good care of each other – The greatest test of our commitment to the Lord

3.        Christ says when we do even the smallest of things to the least of His brethren, we are doing it to Him (Mt 25:40; Mt 12:46-50)

4.        Christ is not a Genie – he expects us to take care of one another, instead of always throwing people onto welfare, and just waiting on God – we have to work with our hands to meet the needs of others

5.        Jesus can be trusted to always take care of every little detail – every jot and tittle will be followed!


III.     Conclusion:


A.      What a gloriously simple glimpse into the mind and heart of our Lord for us to care for one another

B.       To meet the needs, long term needs even of each other

C.       Bear one another’s burdens (Gal 6:2)

D.      Love each other as family – as brethren (1Pet 3:8; 1Jn 3:14)