John 19:25-27 Behold Thy Mother 12/29/2002


  • Was This a Matter of Affection? (John 19:25-27, Matt 13:55, I Cor 15:7)






#1. There Was Darkness Over All the Earth (Luke 23:44, Eph 2:1-3, Zech 12:10)









#2. A Sword Piercing a Soul (Luke 2:34-35, Eph 6:17, Heb 4:12, Rom 3:10, Mark 3:31-35)









#3. He Took Her Unto His Own (John 19:26-27, 1:10-13, Rev 22:18)









Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to John, chapter 19:25 (2X). This is the chapter of the crucifixion of Jesus, and this is the chapter where we read that Jesus was caring for His mother before He died. The title of this sermon is: "Behold Thy Mother". We all know this story. Jesus said to His mother: "Woman, behold thy son", and Jesus said to the Apostle John: "Behold thy mother".

  • Was This a Matter of Affection? (John 19:25-27, Matt 13:55, I Cor 15:7)

Was the Lord Jesus tenderly taking care of the welfare of His mother just before He would die? Was He so concerned about her welfare that He could not leave her in the hands of His brothers James and Joses and Simon and Judas and His sisters? According to Matt 13:55 Mary had at least six more children after she gave birth to Jesus. Why could they not care for her? Besides, for the past 3 years Jesus was traveling throughout Judea and Galilee. Jesus was not taking care of her physical needs anyway, His brothers were. So, let us see what God has to say about this in John 19:

John 19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus (1) his mother, and (2) his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and (3) Mary Magdalene.

John 19:26 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 Then saith he to the disciple, "Behold thy mother"! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own (home).

Verse 25 says, they stood by the cross. Were they standing really close to the cross? No! John is not specific about where they were standing. But we read in Matthew, and in Mark, and in Luke that they were standing "afar off". This is significant, because some artists serving the church of Rome have purposely pictured Mary as standing at the foot of the cross. The church of Rome has built on these pictures the doctrine that Mary contributed to the satisfaction that Christ made for sin, and that she did it no less than Christ did. And so they teach that Mary became a joint mediator in our salvation. That is utter blasphemy. We must maintain that the women were standing "afar off".

But let us now focus on the words of Jesus. Was this really a matter of affection toward His mother? Was Jesus concerned for her physical welfare? No! She was already cared for by His brothers. Or was Jesus concerned about her spiritual welfare, that He wanted her to be among believers? No! A short time later Jesus appeared unto His brother James. We read in I Cor 15:7, "After that He was seen of James; then of all the Apostles". We do not know when His brothers became saved, but we find two Epistles of His brothers James and Jude in the Bible. His mother would have been in good hands with His brothers, both physically as well as spiritually. Moreover, from the seven sayings of Jesus on the cross, six of those seven definitely pertain to His Atonement. Why would this one be an exception? Is it possible that this one is not an exception, but it also has something to do with the Atonement? Let us first consider the circumstances surrounding the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. We find in Matthew, and in Mark, and in Luke that:

#1. There Was Darkness Over All the Earth (Luke 23:44, Eph 2:1-3, Zech 12:10)

Please turn about 45 pages to your left to the Gospel according to Luke, chapter 23:44 (2X). In Matthew and in Mark we read that there was darkness over all the land, which means over all the land of Palestine. But in Luke 23:44 God expanded that darkness to include the whole earth.

Luke 23:44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

From about 12 Noon until about 3 O'clock in the afternoon, for a period of about three hours there was darkness over the whole earth. Actually that word "earth" in Luke 23:44 is exactly the same word that has been translated "land" in Matthew and in Mark. What should it be? Land or Earth? This Greek word is five times more likely to be translated "earth" than "land". Therefore we maintain that the whole earth was enveloped in utter darkness for a period of about three hours. Why is it so significant that God recorded it in three of the four narrative Gospels? Well, this could not possibly be an eclipse of the sun by the moon, because Passover coincides with a time of full moon. The moon was on the other side of the earth. This was a supernatural event. God darkened the light of the sun in some way. But what was that supposed to mean? It means that Jesus suffered in darkness.

Please turn about 180 pages to your right to the Epistle to the Ephesians chapter 2:1, (2X). During the previous 3 years, when Jesus taught the people in parables, He frequently used the metaphor of Hell as a place of outer darkness. Is it possible that the Lord Jesus Himself is now suffering in the darkness of Hell? Why was He suffering as a criminal? He did not commit any sin. But the Lord Jesus Christ came into the world as the Lamb of God, to take away the sin of the world.

To begin with, we all were born as children of Adam, and we all inherited our sinful nature from Adam and Eve. That is why we read in Eph 2:1-3,

Ephesians 2:1 And you (hath he quickened), who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

We, who have become saved by God's almighty power, were by nature children of the wrath of God, just like others who never become saved. We were spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, and that is why we were living under God's wrath, and we deserved to go to Hell on the Last Day. We were enemies of God, and we were haters of the laws of God. Out of our own initiative we would never believe God's salvation plan. Therefore the only people who could become saved were those whom God chose to save. And God did choose a group of people to become saved. For this purpose God sent the Lord Jesus Christ into the world. And God made Him bear the guilt of all the sins of all those whom He came to save, and God gave these people the faith to believe this message, because this is the message of the Bible. Therefore, when we see within ourselves a faith in those things that Christ has done, then we know that we belong to that group of people who were chosen by God unto salvation. It is as simple as that.

Now, let me get back to the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. God created these three hours of utter darkness to indicate to us WHAT the Lord Jesus had to suffer there for our sins. If we would have to pay for our own sins, then we would have to spend an eternity in Hell. That is the penalty required for slapping God in the face. God is absolutely righteous, and God will by no means clear the guilty. But Christ carried the guilt of our sins, and therefore He had to endure the penalty in our place. He had to pay the full price, and therefore He had to pay the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. But He could do that, since He was fully God as well as fully man. That is why He qualified to be our Savior. And that is why there was darkness over all the earth. It was indicating that in His Soul Jesus suffered eternal Hell for us, in our place. His sufferings, in body and in soul, are called Christ's Atonement for our sins.

But think of the marvelous consequences of this Atonement. God says that He placed all those whom He chose to salvation in Christ. We were in Christ before the foundation of the world. We were in Christ when He was conceived in the womb of Mary about 2000 years ago. We were in Christ when He hung on the cross enduring Hell for us. We were in Christ when He was buried and when His body was raised from the tomb on Sunday morning. Since we have in principle already endured Hell for our sins when Christ suffered Hell for us, therefore God can never send us to Hell again, because we have already been there.

Think also what the sufferings of Christ have done to our soul. In order to give us faith God had to create in us a new soul where God Himself has come to live in. Our new soul and the presence of God in our soul must have had a remarkable effect on our mind and on our emotions. We have come to feel exceedingly sorry for all the sins we have ever committed, because they were the cause of the suffering and death of our dear Savior Jesus Christ. When we heard how much the Lord Jesus had to suffer for us, it was as if a sword pierced our own soul. That is why we read in Zech 12:10, "And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son". Our sins were the cause of the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we were the cause that His side was pierced. In turn God struck our conscience like as a sword pierced our soul. What does it mean:

#2. A Sword Piercing a Soul? (Luke 2:34-35, Eph 6:17, Heb 4:12, Rom 3:10, Mark 3:31-35)

When we think of the mother of Jesus standing some distance away from the cross, and seeing her firstborn Son in agony suffering and dying there on the cross, we think of the prophecy of Simeon.

Please turn about 230 pages to your left, to the Gospel According to Luke, chapter 2:34 (2X). Jesus was born, and after 40 days He was brought into the temple to present Him to the Lord, according to the law, and for Joseph and Mary to offer sacrifices for burnt offering and for sin offering. There in the temple Joseph and Mary met a prophet by the name of Simeon. God had revealed to Simeon, "he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ". Then Simeon took the baby Jesus in His arms and he recognized that this was the Christ, the Anointed One. Then Simeon said:

Luke 2:34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against;

Luke 2:35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed".

Literally Simeon said: "This child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and He is appointed for a sign that will be spoken against". Both prophecies refer to the Atonement. First many in Israel will fall. Why do they fall? It is because they will fall on "the stone which the builders rejected, which is become the head of the corner". Christ is that cornerstone. The Jews fell on that cornerstone; that is why they crucified Christ. But through their fall salvation has come unto the many whom the Lord our God shall call, both of Jews and of Gentiles, who together make up the Israel of God. Secondly, this child "is appointed for a sign that will be spoken against". What is that sign? The Jews were asking for a sign, but no sign will be given them except the sign of the Prophet Jonah. "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth". This too is a sign pointing to the Atonement. Christ in His Atonement is the sign that will be spoken against.

Thirdly, "Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also". Every commentator refers to this prophecy as Mary's suffering at the cross. This is an interpretation that is totally out of context. I heard this interpretation 57 years ago in a Highschool run by the Jesuits. But they worshipped Mary. Why should this prophecy suddenly turn the attention to Mary's suffering at the cross? There is no indication that this verse refers to that event. And what does this have to do with the words: "In order that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed"? You see, the interpretation must fit the context. How does a sword pierce a soul? What kind of sword is this? Of course, you guessed it. It must be the sword of the Holy Spirit. For example we read in Eph 6:17, "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God". Simeon's prophecy runs parallel to what we read in Heb 4:12, where we read: "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart". This is the spiritual sword that shall pierce Mary's soul also. The soul is that part of us that relates to God. Therefore this event is a point in time when Mary realizes that her Son Jesus also suffered and died for her sins, because she too was a sinner. Remember, Rom 3:10, "There is NONE righteous, NO NOT ONE". That Mary was a sinner is clearly demonstrated by an incident during Jesus' ministry. Please turn about 40 pages to your left to the Gospel according to Mark , chapter 3:31 (2X). In this passage Jesus' mother and His half-brothers, the sons of Joseph and Mary, were standing outside the house where Jesus was teaching. They had come from far, and they were calling Him. Should Jesus have honored His mother and stepped outside? But He did not. Why did He not speak to His mother and brothers? Was that not a God glorifying thing to do? Let us read about this here in Mark 3:31-35,

Mark 3:31-32 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.

Mark 3:33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?

Mark 3:34-35 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

Why did Jesus not honor His mother at this point in time? Verse 21 of this chapter gives us the answer. First His friends were trying to lay hold on Him to take Him back home. They did not succeed. Now His mother and His brothers have come to take Him home. That is what we read here in Mark 3:34-35. We also can read about this incident in Matthew chapter 12 and in Luke chapter 8. God considered it so important that He recorded it in three of the four narrative Gospels. The Lord Jesus pointed to His disciples and to those around Him who were willing to hear Him. They were doing the will of God, and consequently His mother and His brothers were not doing the will of God. Don't we read in John chapter 7 that even His brothers did not believe in Him? His mother was temporarily persuaded by His brothers to take Him home. Jesus was interrupted in His preaching by His own family. They should not have been outside trying to speak to Him. They should have been standing inside desiring to hear Him. But they did not want to hear Him, and they interrupted others who gladly heard Him. Jesus resented this interruption. He did not want to listen to it. But He took the occasion to teach His disciples a beautiful spiritual lesson. Who are my brother and my sister and my mother? Whosoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and My mother. This was not only the privilege of those sitting in front of Jesus. This is the privilege of all the saints. All obedient believers are the next of kin to Jesus: They wear His name, they bear His image, they have His nature, and they are His family. He loves them, and speaks freely with them as His relatives. He welcomes them to His table, He takes care of them, He provides for them, He sees to it that they lack nothing that is fit for them. When He died He left them great resources. Now He is in heaven and He keeps up a correspondence with them, and He will have them all with Him at last, and He will not fail to do the Kinsman part. He will never be ashamed of His poor relations, but He will confess them before men, before the angels, and before His Father.

Therefore we conclude from Mark 3:31-35 that: firstly, Mary was not the sinless person that the

Roman church portrays her to be. Secondly, Jesus regards spiritual relationship with Him more valuable than physical descendancy. His mother and His brothers were only mother and brother if they belong to His spiritual family; that is, if they were doing the will of His heavenly Father. Now, armed with this valuable insight we should look again at the words of Jesus to His mother and to His disciple John. Please turn about 140 pages to your right to the Gospel According to John, chapter 19:27 (2X). There we read:

#3. He Took Her Unto His Own (John 19:26-27, 1:10-13, Rev 22:18)

John 19:26 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 Then saith he to the disciple, "Behold thy mother"! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own (home).

The word "home" is a suggestion by the translators. It is not present in the original manuscript. What does it mean "He took her unto his own"? The spiritual meaning of "his own" has to be preferred and its interpretation should be more leaning towards "his own people", rather than physically caring for her in "his own home". What does the Bible teach about "His own people"? We read in Matt 13:57, "And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house". That is not very complementary, is it? We read more such verses in the narrative Gospels. Please turn to chapter 1:10 in John's Gospel (2X). It is important to remember that the first 18 verses in John chapter 1 are written as a summary of the entire Gospel of John. We read here in John 1:10-11,

John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Who are represented by "His own" here? "His own" are those whom the Father had chosen before the foundation of the world, and who were placed "in Christ". Even "His own" did not receive Him, because we all came into the world as enemies of God. "There is NONE that seeketh after God, NO NOT ONE". But then "His own" became "Born Again", which means that His own became "born of God". God is still speaking about "His own" in verses 12 and 13,

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he authority to become the sons of God, (even) to them that believe on his name:

John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

They, which turned out to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, were the ones who were "born of God". The group of faithful disciples around the Lord Jesus were "His own" who had experienced the new birth. They were "His own" to whom John took Mary, the mother of Jesus.

How does this tie into the Atonement, which Mary and John were watching? There is one big change that occurred during the Atonement, which is not addressed by the other six sayings of Jesus. When Christ died on the cross it was the moment in history when the OT ceased and the NT began. This was such a huge change that it took the disciples years to discover. It means the Ceremonial Law ceased to exist when Christ died. The OT economy was replaced by the NT economy. The Jews had to abandon their privileged status of people of God, and now before God they were no different from the Gentile nations. What has this to do with Mary and John? Consider the following:

Jesus is connecting John to the woman. Jesus came out of Mary, like Christ came out of the OT congregation. Mary represents the OT church. John was disciple of Jesus, like John came forth from Jesus. John represents the NT church. When Jesus said to His mother, "Woman, behold thy son!" spiritually He indicated that the OT church had spawned a new generation of believers, the NT church, whom they should love as one of their own. When Jesus said to John, "Behold thy mother", spiritually He indicated that the NT congregation should acknowledge that their mother church was the OT congregation of Jews, and that they should love them and take them in, and instruct them in the way of the NT economy. It means that this saying of Jesus also pertains to the Atonement.

But let me now sound a word of warning to those who still maintain that Simeon's prophecy refers to this scene at the cross. There are those who cannot believe that Mary also needed salvation. They believe that Mary was conceived in her mother's womb as an "Immaculate Conception", meaning: no original sin from Adam's fall, and no subsequent sin thereafter. The Roman church has made this a mandatory article of faith. However, this is a doctrine that is not in the Bible, and we must place it in the category of "suggestions from Satan". Clearly it is a violation of Rev 22:18, which says: "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this Book". This is how we must discern truth from error. This is how we must point out heresy. Whenever a doctrine is introduced that is not in the Bible, it is a doctrine which leaves people unsaved, and leaves people still under the wrath of God.

But praise be to God that He has allowed us to remain faithful. Praise be to God that He has shown us the true way of serving Him in worship, and honoring Him by giving Him all the glory.


Amen. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.