Mary is standing at the foot of the cross. We can only imagine how her mother’s heart suffered to see Jesus beaten severely and bleeding profusely. He was forced to carry His own crossbeam until Roman soldiers seized Simon of Cyrene and ordered him to help. The destination was “Calvary,” on a public roadway near Jerusalem.
On either side of Jesus, a criminal was crucified. The inscription over His head, intended as mockery, read “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” (v. 19). Written in three languages, the inadvertent testimony of truth would be read by thousands of Jews, passing by for the Passover.
Matthew, Mark, and Luke each recorded that many women followed Jesus to the cross, mourning and wailing (Luke 23:27). John listed only a specific four: Mary His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene (v. 25). John noted his own presence as “the disciple whom He loved” (v. 26).
Each Gospel writer documented certain final words of Jesus. But only John recounted this final act of familial love: When Jesus looked down and saw Mary’s sorrow, He said, “Woman [using the respectful address again], here is your son” (v. 26). Speaking to John, He said, “Here is your mother” (v. 27).
Jesus’ brothers had abandoned Him (7:1–5). Joseph had likely died. Mary had supported Jesus throughout His ministry and to this traumatic end, but she was about to be left alone. Jesus was telling John to care for her as his own. “From that time on, [John] took her into his home” (v. 27).
Knowing that all things had been accomplished and Scripture had been fulfilled, He requested a drink. When He received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” and gave up His spirit.
>> As we encounter the cross through Mary’s eyes—the person who probably loved Him most—we can feel the pain He endured in palpable ways. We grieve, yet not without hope.
You were in so much pain, Jesus, yet You remembered to care for Your mother and to fulfill all that had been prophesied about You. No matter what misery we may endure in earthly life, You are and will be our eternal consolation.