Then He said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.John 19:27(NASB)
Although God is in control and exercises His sovereign power in the affairs of men, He will often permit satanic strategies and the evil schemes of fallen man to prosper, in order to bring His perfect plans and eternal purposes to fruition, and to teach us an important truth. For instance, while the Lord permitted the heinous events surrounding Israel's rejection of their Messiah and Christ's cruel crucifixion on a Gentile cross to be carried out by sinful man, the Lord used their nefarious plans and diabolical acts to accomplish His glorious plan of salvation through it.
As those present saw Christ Jesus hanging on that Roman cross for six long hours, they unknowingly witnessed some of the most precious promises of God being spoken and fulfilled, and they heard seven profound utterances from his lips, the consequences of which will continue to reverberate throughout the eternal ages to come.
Together, the 4 Gospel writers provide the complete picture of Christ's words from the Cross.
Luke not only records His first two words of grace and mercy: "Father forgive them for they know not what they do," and "Today you will be with me in paradise," but also the final, authoritative utterance of God the Son: "Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit."
Matthew and Mark record His heart-wrenching cry of "Elí, Elí, lama sabachthani?" - 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?' For the first time, the eternal fellowship Jesus shared with God the Father and God the Spirit was shattered, and He uttered those most profound words of human terror.
In the fourth Gospel, the apostle John gives us a glimpse of the hypostatic union of Christ's deity with His humanity, as the God-Man fulfils prophetic Scripture that so clearly identified His human nature, when He said, "I thirst." This took place shortly before the Lord Jesus gave up the ghost. John also records: "It is finished," that great cry of victory when Satan, sin, death, and hell had been forever defeated, after Jesus had endured 3 hours of the most intense physical suffering, followed by three more hours of the most terrifying time, when He underwent spiritual separation from His Father and the Holy Spirit (i.e. spiritual death).
John also documents some of the most gracious, caring, and compassionate words from the Cross, when Jesus spoke to Mary, His human mother who must have been standing on Calvary's lonely hill outside the city gate, alongside the disciple He loved for those six, long, incredible hours. As she stood and wept before the Cross, her mother-heart would have been breaking.
Did her thoughts fly back to the visit of Gabriel who gave her the glad tiding that she was to bear God's promised Messiah? Did she remember the accusing whispers about her unique pregnancy, as the Child conceived of the Holy Ghost grew in her womb, or the long journey she made with Joseph to Bethlehem, the City of David, where Christ was born? Did she recall the visit of the local Jewish shepherds, the Gentile wise men from the east, the flight into Egypt, and so many memories of His childhood? Did she recall that time when Jesus told her that He must be about His Father's business, at the age of 12, or that marriage at Cana of Galilee when her firstborn Son turned water into wine?
No doubt, as she stood quietly weeping and faithfully waiting throughout the entire ordeal, she would have recalled her visit to the Temple when the Christ Child was 10 days old and she met Anna the old prophetess, and Simeon, the faithful old man who was waiting for the consolation of Israel, who blessed them and said to her, "Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed, and a sword will pierce even your own soul, to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed." That sword of which the old man spoke would certainly have been piercing her soul to breaking point, as she watched her firstborn Son suffer on that wooden cross.
She must have been confused as she recalled her song of joy at the announcement of His birth: "My soul exalts the Lord," she had sung 33 years before, "and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour. He has had regard for the humble state of His handmaiden - and behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed." Her heavenly Son was supposed to bring down rulers from their thrones and smash the Gentile nations as Daniel had prophesied! He was supposed to fill the hungry with good things and send away the rich empty-handed, as spoken by Isaiah. He was to set up His earthly kingdom in Israel as foretold by many prophets of old. He was supposed to fulfil the promise to Israel's forefathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever. Mary must have been so confused, but like the rest of His disciples, she had failed to hear and understand that He was man's Kinsman-Redeemer Whose sacrificial death and glorious Resurrection would bring life to all who believe in Him, would bring glory to God, and would destroy the works of the evil one. She failed to understand her Child was born to die - so that she and all who believe could rejoice in Him as "God MY Saviour."
And so, in the midst of His suffering, as He faced the full force of God's wrath by becoming the substitute for OUR wrongdoing and paying the penalty for OUR sin, Jesus knew there was one more special duty to perform, before He breathed His last. And so, He looked at the dear woman who had been chosen to bear the Lord's Anointed, with tenderness and love, for she was standing by the Cross with her sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene: "And when Jesus saw His mother and the disciple He loved standing there, He said to His mother, 'Woman, here is your son.' Then He said to the disciple, 'Here is your mother.' And from that hour the disciple took her into his home."
As Jesus hung, dying on the Cross in excruciating pain, the tender-hearted provision He made for His mother is very meaningful. He took care of His mother to the end and placed Mary into the care of His beloved disciple, John. She was placed into John's safe-keeping with such simplicity and yet such a depth of meaning: "Woman, behold, your son!" and to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!"
Heavenly Father, I praise You for the Word of God that opens up my understanding of Your perfect plan of salvation and Your great wisdom, power, compassion, and grace. Thank You for sending Your Son to be our Kinsman-Redeemer and that He was willing to set aside His glory for a time to come to earth as a Man and live a perfect, sinless life to qualify Him to pay the price of sin - a price that we fallen sinners can never attain. I pray that the tender, loving kindness He showed to His mother when He placed her into the care of John, may be forthcoming in my own life, as I die to myself and live for Him alone. This I ask in Jesus' name AMEN.