The Fifth Last Word From The Cross
The Fifth Last Word From The Cross:
“Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother”
Who here has a favourite number? Mine is 5. In fact I like all the odd numbers under 10. The bible mentions some significant numbers quite a lot. Can you name a few?
- 40 – Years in the wilderness, 40 days of Jesus temptation, 40 days of Noahs flood. 40 years Eli judges Israel, 40 years David ruled as King, 40 days Jesus taught the disciples before he ascended back to Heaven
- 12 – Twelve months in a year, twelve tribes of Israel [Genesis 49:28]. Twelve spies sent to spy out Canaan [Numbers 13:1-15]. Jesus is twelve years old when He questions the scholars in the Temple [Luke 2:41]. Twelve Apostles [Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:13]. Twelve gates of the New Jerusalem [Revelation 21:12]. The Trees of Life in the new creation will bear twelve kinds of fruits [Revelation 22:2].
- 7 – Days and nights, God rested on the 7th day, 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit, 7 Holy feasts of Israel, 7 colours in the rainbow. In the book of the revelation there are 7 bowl judgments, 7 vial judgements, 7 trumpet judgements, 7 letters to the 7 churches, 7 golden lampstands, 7 seals, 7 horns, 7 eyes, 7 angels, 7 thunders, 7 crowns, 7 plagues, 7 hills and 7 kings, 7 years of the tribulation period
The number 7 in the bible stands for spiritual perfection or fullness. When God is completing a work the number 7 is used.
Before we continue, what were the 7th and 6th last sentences that Jesus spoke from the cross?
- ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’
- ‘Truly, I tell you today, you shall be with Me in paradise.
What did we say was the single word we could use to describe these last sentences of Christ? Forgiveness and Salvation
Tonight we look at the fifth last sentence Jesus spoke to us from the cross.
(John 19:26-27) – When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
These words were spoken by Christ sometime between 9am and 12 noon as He hung on the cross.
A crowd had gathered on the hill to watch the crucifixion of this one called Jesus, this hill called the Golgotha or the place of the skull. Near the cross that Jesus hung on stood his mother, his mother’s sister Mary and 2 other women. She stands and watches as her first born son dies an agonising death. This would have been so tough for Mary, to stand and watch her son die on a wooden cross. Only those who have seen a loved one die could possibly understand what Mary felt that day, the grief, the agony, the helplessness, the guilt.
Next to them stood the disciple John, described as the disciple Jesus loved.
Even at this point, as death draws near and pain rakes through is body his first thoughts were for others. He turns to His mother and He says “Woman here is your son”. Jesus is saying to his mother “I’m leaving you now and I can no longer care for you. But do you see John; he will be to you as I was, the son you need to care for you.
And to John He says “Here is your mother.” He is saying to John take care of her in the same way I would if I were still with you. This was like Jesus last will, the only thing he was leaving behind in this world was his mother and he wanted her to be well cared for, to be looked after. So he passes the task onto John and how does John respond. From that hour he took her to his own home.
- One take home from this is that Jesus was living out the 5th commandment right up until he died. Who can tell me what that is? He knew that this was his last opportunity to honour his mother. Jesus role was that of the God man, come into this world to die in our place for our wrongdoings, yet at no stage did he forget that his true purpose was to honour God in all he did. And that included obedience to the law of God, one of which was to honour his mother and father. Right to the very end of his life he understood the call, the obligation to honour his mother.
I don’t think that we can ever be called a success in life if we forget to honour our parents, if we neglect those who brought us into the world.
When was the last time you told your mother or father they you loved them and really meant it. When was the last time you sat down and just talked to them or asked them how they were doing? When was the last time you volunteered to help in the kitchen, clean up your room or just do what they asked you to do? We do not honour our parents nor do we honour God when we disobey reasonable requests from our parents or grumble and moan and sook and sulk because we were asked to perform a chore.
- Another take home from this lesson is Christ’s compassion. Jesus knew that Mary was vulnerable, she was now alone. It is likely that Joseph died somewhere between the time when Jesus was 12 and teaching in the synagogue and when he started his public ministry at age 30 as he is never mentioned in scripture as being with Jesus whereas Mary is on a number of occasions.
The meaning of compassion is (1) a deep awareness and sympathy of the sufferings of another. It also has a second definition: (2) the humane quality of understanding the suffering of others and wanting to do something about it.
Illustration – Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a 4-year-old child whose next-door neighbour was an elderly gentleman who recently had lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap and just sat there. When his mother asked him what he had said to the neighbour, the little boy said, “Nothing, I just helped him cry.”
Christ looked down from the cross and in his own suffering recognised the suffering of his mother and did something to help her. He knew she would need protection and care. This was a woman alone in need of assistance. John was available and willing.
It’s amazing when you look at the three phrases of Jesus that we have heard so far. The absolute selflessness of Christ toward others –
- Father forgive them, he is thinking of his enemies.
- Today you will be with me in paradise, he is thinking of the criminal beside him.
- Woman here is your son, he is thinking of his mother.
Jesus died the way he lived, thinking of others and putting them first.
In the first word Christ displayed forgiveness, in the second word he displayed salvation and in the third word Jesus displayed compassion.
How do you show compassion on your fellow human beings?
The bible tells us to live like Christ, to be more like him each day. By thinking of others not always thinking of ourselves. Being selfless instead of being selfish.
That’s the challenge for us today, to be a little less selfish, a little more giving and a great deal more compassionate.