When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by, whom He loved, He saith unto His mother: “Woman, behold thy son!”
What bitter-sweet words, this third word from the cross. What words of extreme grace, were uttered to His dear mother. Not far away, in a quiet, grieving spot, stood a little group of His dearest friends. With few exceptions, most of them were broken-hearted women... women who loved Him, oh so dearly.
And there standing amidst them was His own mother. What thoughts must have passed through her throbbing, aching heart. Surely her thoughts must have raced back to that penetrating prophecy – a prophecy of promised glory but a pledge of pain, from the aged Simeon: "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; Behold, this child is set for a sign which shall be spoken against". Luke 3:34.
As she stood in anguish and pain, gazing at her dying son, a sword indeed pierced through her own aching soul, leaving her heart bloodied and bruised, and probably bereft of hope. Despite the sins of all humanity that weighed so heavily upon the shoulders of our blessed Lord; despite the bitter pain, affliction and anguish He bore, for your transgressions and for mine, He saw His own dear mother, in her deep and gaping grief, and His own breaking heart of compassion reached out, in love, to her.
She, who at His conception, dimly glanced His future role, in her glorious song.. a glorious song of: "This my Son.. is God my Saviour". Luke 1:47. She who bore Him in pain, nursed Him at her breast; she who comforted and soothed him through infancy; she who taught Him through His childhood with her simple gentleness; she who bore, taught and trained Him in unforgettable, tenderness and love – she now beheld her Son!
She, who in her misunderstandings had scolded Him when He reminded her, "I must be about My Father’s business". She, who once despaired of his sanity! She, who discovered His claims and ministry a mystery! She, who was confused at His staggering words, "Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?" She it was, to whom in love and compassion, the Lord spoke His third word from the cross:- "Woman, behold thy son!"
Stripped of all and in poverty of spirit, one would think that He’d no more to give. He had already bequeathed to all who hung Him on the Tree, the Precious Pardon of God Almighty - to a dying world. He had graciously bestowed on His companion in punishment... The Promise of Paradise, Today… to a dying man. But there before Him, in dumb disbelief and paralysed in their agony, were two of those, beloved of Him. Standing in that little group of mourners were two who had been His beloved companions:- "When Jesus, therefore, saw His mother and the disciple standing by, whom He loved, He saith unto His mother, 'Woman, behold thy son!' Then saith He to the disciple, 'Behold thy mother' – and from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home". John 19:26
No more touching display of deep human love than this could ever be played out on the theatre of life. Yet this was not the selfish love that so often crosses the TV screen – or the stage – or the film studio. This was a fervent love, a profound love, an intense love, an overwhelming love. This was a love that passes the understanding of man - a love that staggers the imagination of all.
At His tender age of thirty-three, He bore the accumulated pain and grief of all humanity. His was not the anguish of a typical, three-score years and ten lifespan. His was the excruciating heartache and bitter torment, meted out and endured by ALL through history. He did not suffer affliction at the hand of God for a few brief hours on the Cross as some seem to imply. His pain spanned the culmination of every single filthy, foul, disgusting sin. His pain spans 7000 years of sin that the world has ever amassed.
In His heartache, torment, suffering, and distress, He stretched His arms of love – a reach from eternity past to eternity future. The anguish, desolation, loneliness, and rejection poured on Him was the totality of humanities amassed evil – and the outflow from Him was forgiveness; hope; compassion – love. All Satan’s tempestuous fury was concentrated and condensed into one brief breath of time. All the Father’s undiluted wrath and rage was poured out in full measure upon His sinless head – and in the midst of this, He called out, "Woman, behold thy son!"
Amazing love! How can it be.. that Christ my God should die for Me?
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