Matt Carter speaks on John 19:26-27.
Series: The 7 Sayings of Jesus
Jesus made seven statements while He hung on the cross. They were the dying words of Jesus; each one has significance and meaning. They teach us something about the heart of God.
First, He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they’re doing.” In the midst of being unjustly wronged, Jesus was still able to pour out forgiveness. Second, He interacted with two criminals being crucified alongside Him. One hurled abuse and rejected Him, the other confessed his sin and cried out to Him to save him to which Jesus responded, “You will be with me in paradise.”
25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. John 19:25-27 (ESV)
While being crucified, Jesus looked down and saw His mother and His disciple John. He looked at Mary and said, “Woman, behold, your son. John is now your son. And John, this is now your mother.” Mary went to live with John for the rest of her life.
At first glance this statement doesn’t seem to compare to some of the weightier ones that Jesus made. It feels like a side note where Jesus is just taking care of some family business. Yet, the more I look at it, I realize this is a moment that has real theological and practical significance for our lives.
Jesus was being incredibly intentional with His words and actions to give us a glimpse into the heart of God.
In order to understand the significance we must consider the situation in which He was saying it.
The Significance Of The Moment
What was happening when Jesus stopped and took care of the needs of His mother?
He was paying for the sins of the world.
He was suffering one of the most painful experiences of physical torture that any person could possibly endure. He had been whipped, His back being completely torn to shreds. He had been punched repeatedly in the face. Romans had taken a thorn crown and crushed it down upon His head. He had suffered an incredible loss of blood. He was desperately weak and thirsty. They took spikes, driving them into His wrists and feet, fastening Him to a cross, slamming it upright into the ground with all of His weight being held only by those spikes. The physical cost He was paying for your sins was enormous.
Jesus was also paying a mental cost. Historically, when men were crucified, they would be naked in order to humiliate them. Jesus was completely exposed to the world. He was also suffering insults and verbal abuses hurled at Him. But the physical and mental cost was nothing compared to the spiritual cost He was paying.
Jesus was enduring the wrath of the Holy God. As He hung on the cross, God was pouring His wrath out onto Him, so that we wouldn’t have to receive it ourselves. Jesus had existed eternally with the Father in a holy, loving and sinless relationship. Everything had been amazingly perfect between them until this moment. For the first time in eternity, sin entered into their relationship that had never been there before. The relationship Jesus had enjoyed forever was ripped from Him. This was a massive cost Jesus was paying.
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)
Jesus was performing the most significant act in human history. Yet, suddenly He stopped to make sure a desperate widow had somebody to take care of her.
Jesus was always doing stuff like this, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, caring and loving for people. What He did wasn’t necessarily significant. But when He chose to do it was.
Jesus could have done this the night before while in the Upper Room. He could have leaned over to John and asked him to take of His mother right there. He could have done if after He had died and risen from the grave. He spent a lot of time with both Mary and the disciples before He ascended to heaven. But He didn’t.
He chose the moment when He was hanging on the cross, paying for the sins of the world, to stop and take care of Mary’s future.
This was the only statement Jesus made that didn’t have to be said while on the cross. The other six statements were absolutely unique to the cross being either a direct fulfillment of prophecy that had to take place during the death of the Messiah or was Jesus responding to a very unique situation.
However, Jesus knew the cross was coming. He could have taken care of Mary’s need at any other point of His journey. So why did He choose to do it while on the cross?
Jesus was revealing something to us. He was letting us see a view of God’s heart most of us would have missed otherwise. It’s a beautiful picture of how God actually loves us.
God doesn’t just care for and love you by offering you salvation. He wants to love you and care for you even in the smallest details of your life.
A lot of us need to see this and understand the depth of God’s love for us. As He’s shedding His blood for the sins of the world, showing us He can meet the most significant need in the universe, our sin, He’s also showing us He’s not too busy, too tired or too distracted to care for one desperate widow who needs a place to sleep.
Jesus intentionally chose this moment to demonstrate the span of care for our lives. He loves and cares for us in the big things, but also the smallest details of who we are.
He Cares About The Small Things
I have a very shortsighted view of the depths of which God cares for me. When thinking about how God loves me, I have a tendency to only think He cares about my sin. He loves and cares for me enough to die for my sin, and cares about whether or not I’m sinning, but that’s it. A lot of times, I think He just doesn’t care about the stupid stuff I struggle with on a daily basis.
The point of Jesus saying this on the cross was to tell us this isn’t true. God does not just love you as a Savior who wants to take away your sin. God loves you as a father that wants to care for you the way a good father would a daughter or son. He loves you the way a good husband would care, pursue, cherish and love his wife. He wants to love you as a friend that will walk with you closer than a brother.
This story shows us God wants to love and care for you the way a dying son would care for his widowed mother.
How do you view God? Is He too busy or preoccupied with the redemption of the world to care about the stuff that’s bringing you pain right now? Do you have minor details in your life you would never bring to Him, because He just doesn’t care?
Jesus didn’t have to say this on the cross. While paying for the sins of the world, He took the time to care for the ordinary, mundane, every day needs of a person He loved.
This glimpse into the heart of God is probably what Peter was referring to.
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 1 Peter 5:6 (ESV)
If you were to stop right there, you would think Peter was talking about how big and mighty God is. But then he says something else.
7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 (ESV)
Some of you are dealing with sickness. I was sick with the flu a couple weeks ago. After being sick for the second week in a row, I cried out to God for healing. I immediately felt guilty. I just asked God to heal me of the flu while my friend just died in a foreign land for the sake of the gospel. He just got shot because he left America and went to tell people about Jesus, yet I’m asking God to heal me of the flu? It felt ridiculous to come to a God who deals in the salvation of unreached people groups and ask Him to heal me of a silly sickness.
Some of you are lonely. It just feels so vain to go to the Lord and talk to Him about that. You know the Bible says you’re supposed to be satisfied completely in Him. So it feels ridiculous to cast your loneliness on Him.
There are some things that seem goofy to talk to God about, my weight and body image for example. A lot of us wrestle with this. It feels so vain to go to God and talk about what we eat, our self-control and the way we feel in our own skin. It feels ridiculous to ask Him to give you the strength to control what you eat or to be content with the way you look.
If there’s anything Scripture teaches us, it’s that God cares for this kind of stuff. God cares about the flu and our loneliness. He cares about your body image. We’re supposed to take those things and cast them upon Him.
How many of you are anxious about a test, or money or a job and haven’t cast those cares upon Jesus because you’re just not quite sure He cares?
There was somebody else who felt guilty about burdening Jesus with the simple stuff, Mary. She knew Jesus was going to die. From the moment she held him in her womb, she knew that one day He was going to die for the sin of the world. Don’t you think at some point in the story, she probably wondered who would take care of her once Jesus died? She probably felt guilty about thinking it. Her son was going to be tortured for the sin of the world, she didn’t want to go to Him and ask Him who would take care of her.
Yet, Jesus put all that stuff to rest. It’s one of the seven sayings on the cross. He stopped in the middle of paying for our sins and said, “Mary, I love you. I care about your future. I’m going to make sure you’re taken care of.”
He Cares For You
There was a time in my life where Jesus tangibly showed me that He didn’t just care about my salvation, but also cared about the pain I was going through. I go back to this story often to remind my soul God cares for me and loves me.
When I was eleven years old, we were in church singing the song, “Because He lives.”
Because He lives,
I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives,
All fear is gone,
Because I know,
He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives.
My mom leaned over to me after the song and said, “When I die, I want you to bury me in a red dress and play that song at my funeral.” When she died, we did what she asked. We buried her in a red dress and that was the last song we sang before we put her in the ground.
A few weeks later, I went on a mission trip to Belize. Late one night, after we had worked all day, one of the indigenous pastors said, “Hey, I’m going evangelizing tonight. Does anybody want to go with me?” I decided to go with him.
We drove out into the jungle. We got to a fork in the road with a village a little ways down both paths. There were grass huts, no electricity and a fire that was burning out. The pastor said he was going to the village on the left and I was to go to the village on the right. Then he took off.
I knocked on people’s doors, asking them if they wanted to talk to me about Jesus. They looked at me strangely and thought I was ridiculous. Nothing happened. Finally I gave up and walked back to the car to wait for the other guy to come back.
All of a sudden a little kid came walking up to me. He said, “I heard you were walking around telling people about Jesus and I want to hear about Jesus.” So I started sharing the gospel with him. The kid trusted in Jesus right there in the middle of the night in the middle of the jungle. I was just thrilled. It was a miracle. But as soon as the excitement wore off I started getting sad.
I realized this was one of those things I would have loved to call my mom and tell her about. The weight of that began to crush me. I started to pray, “God, does she know what just happened? Does my mom know?”
I looked down the road and there was a guy walking up. This guy came right up to me. I tried to strike up a conversation with him. He was wearing a guitar on his back. So I asked him if he could play. He said he could. I asked him what kind of music he played. He said, “I play all kinds of music.” I asked him to play me a song. He asked me what song I would like to hear. I told him to pick something. He pulled his guitar around and began singing “Because He Lives”.
I don’t remember what I did next or where that guy went, because as soon as he started playing that song, I absolutely lost it. Of all the millions of songs he could have played, he picked that one, just after I asked the Lord about my mom.
What kind of a god does that? What kind of a god who doesn’t just concern himself with the salvation of souls, would move heaven and earth just to take a moment to minister, in a really small way, to a young guy that was sad about losing his mother?
Our God does.
He is the kind of God that stops in the middle of paying the highest cost a person could pay to take care of His mom.
The application today is very simple.
Cast all your cares on Him. He cares for you.