John 19:26,27 - Preparation for Easter - step 3.
John 19:26 (KJV) When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the
disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman,
behold thy son!
John 19:27 (KJV) Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy
mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
This is the third of seven utterances of Jesus as He hung upon
the cross, sometimes called the Seven Words. No gospel writer
mentions more than three, nor less than one, of these utterances.
Arranged in point of time the seven "utterances" are as follows:
1. "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (v. 34).
2. "Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in
paradise" (v. 43).
3. "Woman, behold thy son! ... Behold thy mother!" (see on John
4. "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46;
5. "I thirst" (John 19:28).
6. "It is finished" (see on John 19:30).
7. "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit" (see on Luke
23:46). [SDA Commentary]
The Gospels report seven utterances by Jesus as He hung on the
cross. Three of these can be assigned to the first three hours, between
9 a.m. and 12 noon. Four can be assigned to the next three hours,
12-3 p.m., during which the scene was shrouded in darkness.
It is traditional during Good Friday services to meditate on
these seven utterances. Surely there is much here for us to ponder.
[Victor Bible Background Commentary]
He calls her woman, not mother, not out of any disrespect to
her, but because mother would have been a cutting word to her that
was already wounded to the heart with grief; (Matthew Henry's
Jesus asked his close friend John, the writer of this Gospel, to
care for Jesus' mother, Mary, whose husband, Joseph, must have been
dead by this time. Why didn't Jesus assign this task to his brothers?
As the oldest son, Jesus entrusted his mother to a person who
stayed with him at the cross--and that was John. [Life Application SB]
The relationship between John and Jesus was more intimate than
that between Jesus and the other disciples, and John could therefore
carry out the duties of a son more faithfully than they. That Jesus
entrusted His mother to a disciple is acknowledged as evidence that Joseph
no longer lived, and is thought by some to indicate that Mary had
no other sons of her own, at least in a position to care for her.
Jesus' older brothers, sons of Joseph by a former marriage (see on
Matt. 12:46), did not, at this time, believe in Him, and He may have
felt that their attitude toward Mary would have been critical and
unsympathetic, as it had been toward Him. [SDA Commentary]
As the eyes of Jesus wandered over the multitude about Him, one
figure arrested His attention. At the foot of the cross stood His
mother, supported by the disciple John. She could not endure to remain
away from her Son; and John, knowing that the end was near, had
brought her again to the cross. In His dying hour, Christ remembered His
mother. Looking into her grief-stricken face and then upon John, He said
to her, "Woman, behold thy son!" then to John, "Behold thy mother!"
John understood Christ's words, and accepted the trust. He at once
took Mary to his home, and from that hour cared for her tenderly. O
pitiful, loving Saviour; amid all His physical pain and mental anguish,
He had a thoughtful care for His mother! He had no money with which
to provide for her comfort; but He was enshrined in the heart of
John, and He gave His mother to him as a precious legacy. Thus He
provided for her that which she most needed,--the tender sympathy of one
who loved her because she loved Jesus. And in receiving her as a
sacred trust, John was receiving a great blessing. She was a constant
reminder of his beloved Master.
The perfect example of Christ's filial love shines forth with
undimmed luster from the mist of ages. For nearly thirty years Jesus by
His daily toil had helped bear the burdens of the home. And now,
even in His last agony, He remembers to provide for His sorrowing,
widowed mother. The same spirit will be seen in every disciple of our
Lord. Those who follow Christ will feel that it is a part of their
religion to respect and provide for their parents. From the heart where
His love is cherished, father and mother will never fail of
receiving thoughtful care and tender sympathy. DA752
Behold, my beloved disciple shall be to you a son, and provide
for you, and discharge toward you the duties of an affectionate
child. Mary was poor. It would even seem that now she had no home.
Jesus, in his dying moments, filled with tender regard for his mother,
secured for her an adopted son, obtained for her a home, and consoled
her grief by the prospect of attention from him who was the most
beloved of all the apostles. What an example of filial attention! What a
model to all children! And how lovely appears the dying Saviour, thus
remembering his afflicted mother, and making her welfare one of his last
cares on the cross, and even when making atonement for the sins of the
world! (Barnes' Notes)
There is something infinitely moving in the fact that Jesus in
the agony of the Cross, when the salvation of the world hung in the
balance, thought of the loneliness of his mother in the days ahead. He
never forgot the duties that lay to his hand. He was Mary's eldest
son, and even in the moment of his cosmic battle, he did not forget
the simple things that lay near home. To the end of the day, even on
the Cross, Jesus was thinking more of the sorrows of others than of
his own. [Barclay Commentary]
In this passage there is something which is surely one of the
loveliest things in all the gospel story. When Jesus saw his mother, he
could not but think of the days ahead. He could not commit her to the
care of his brothers, for they did not believe in him yet (Jn 7:5).
And, after all, John had a double qualification for the service Jesus
entrusted to him--he was Jesus' cousin, being Salome's son, and he was the
disciple whom Jesus loved. So Jesus committed Mary to John's care and
John to Mary's, so that they should comfort each other's loneliness
when he was gone. [Barclay Commentary]
In the end Jesus was not absolutely alone. At his Cross there
were these four women who loved him. Some commentators explain their
presence there by saying that in those days women were so unimportant
that no one ever took any notice of women disciples, and that
therefore these women were running no risk at all by being near the Cross
of Jesus. That surely is a poor and unworthy explanation. It was
always a dangerous thing to be an associate of a man whom the Roman
government believed to be so dangerous that he deserved a Cross. It is
always a dangerous thing to demonstrate one's love for someone whom the
orthodox regard as a heretic. The presence of these women at the Cross
was not due to the fact that they were so unimportant that no one
would notice them; their presence was due to the fact that perfect
love casts out fear. [Barclay Commentary]
Maybe she could not understand, but she could love. Her presence
there was the most natural thing in the world for a mother. Jesus
might be a criminal in the eyes of the law, but he was her son.
Tradition says that she continued to live with him in Judea
until the time of her death, which occurred about fifteen years after
the death of Christ. (Barnes' Notes)
Even while dying on the cross, Jesus was concerned about his
family. He instructed John to care for Mary, Jesus' mother. Our families
are precious gifts from God, and we should value and care for them
under all circumstances. Neither Christian work nor key
responsibilities in any job or position excuse us from caring for our families.
What can you do today to show your love to your family? [Life
Some Christians reading this passage emphasize how precious Mary
was to Jesus. She was most certainly dearly loved. But this only
serves to emphasize the deep love of John for Jesus, and of Jesus for
John. Christ was comforted knowing that His friend would care for His
dearly loved mother.
The closer we are to the LORD, the more likely He is to commit
precious things and precious people to our care. Let's love Him deeply,
that we might be privileged to serve our LORD as John served Christ.
[The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]