The third saying of Jesus as He hung on the Cross, living up to His Name, which was to save His people from their sins was to his mother and his disciple who stood by her. To the mother, he said “WOMAN, behold thy son!” and to the disciple, He said “Behold thy mother!” (John 19:26-27).
Seeing his mother and the other women, his near and dear ones at the foot of the cross PIQUES Jesus to state a PROFOUND FACT and exposit a PROVISION of MAGNITUDE proportions and say the THIRD saying on the cross. Woman, Behold thy son! Behold thy mother!
As we analyze this saying, let us break the saying into two main subheadings
- WOMAN (vs 26)
- BEHOLD THY SON! BEHOLD THY MOTHER! (vs 27)
Ever wonder why Jesus addressed Mary his mother as Woman and not Mother?
He called her woman to remind Mary of her PURPOSE that she was a VESSEL, God’s handmaid in humble obedience (Matthew 1:21, Luke 1:26-38) and that which was prophesied by SIMEON’s was now being FULFILLED (Luke 2:34-35). He was DISASSOCIATING every human tie to establish heavenly ASSOCIATIONS.
He called her woman to let all know that he was SON OF GOD. Epitaphs on tombstone reflect the sonship of the deceased. The TITULUS (Inscription) above his bruised and pierced with thorns head did not read that he was Jesus, the carpenter’s son, the son of Mary but instead read INRI – IESVS NAZARENVS REX IVDAEORVM (Latin) which meant Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews (English).
He called her woman because His TIME HAD COME. The two familiar references in the Bible in which Jesus addresses his mother Mary and in both cases, he calls her “Woman” is 1st at the wedding at Cana. There he calls her woman, and tells her that his hour is not yet come (John 2:4). Now the 2nd time: On the Cross, he calls her woman because His Time had Come. He was going in for the final round. SIN WAS BATTLING with the captain of salvation, whispering hellish threats in His ears, only to hear Him say “It is Finished”. But before he could say that “It is Finished”, He had some earthly obligations to complete one of which was the provisional arrangements for his family, his mother.
And that’s when he begins by saying, Woman …and completes it saying Behold thy son! (and to the disciple, he said) Behold thy mother!
BEHOLD THY SON! BEHOLD THY MOTHER!
Why did Jesus say “Behold thy son! Behold thy mother!”?
He was fulfilling the fifth commandment – Honor thy Father and thy Mother (Exodus 20). He was making provisions for his mother. He who does not provide for his relatives, especially his family, is worse than an infidel and has denied the faith. (1 Timothy 5:8).
Jesus was also reestablishing a profound fact – the importance of the family, which is the first institution on earth, the basic unit of society. The first time, God says it is not good was when he saw man without a helper and made him a family, by creating a woman (help mate) out of man. The family in Heaven is God, the Father, Jesus, the Son and His Holy Spirit, the Helper.
Salvation is plural, not singular. It includes the family. Rahab and her family were saved. Zacchaeus was told that Salvation had come to his house. When the disciples were questioned, What must I do to be saved? Though the question was singular, the answer came in plural as the disciples replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved and your household”
Even with no psychological anesthesia to dilute the awful crushing reality of impending death, even in this crisis, Jesus’ focus was unwavered. He saw his mother, he saw his disciple is what the Bible says. The operative word is ‘SAW’. Jesus’ eyes saw his mother and his beloved disciple and as they focus on him, he makes them focus on each other. They looked up at him and he made them look at each other.
John 19:26-27 (KJV)
26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.