Behold Thy Mother!

Sermon delivered on May 8th, 2016

By: Pastor Greg Hocson

Scripture Text: John 19



On this Mother's Day, I want to take you to the Cross. To some that might be confusing place to be for an occasion like Mother's Day. But whenever you are at the Cross of Christ you are at the right place.


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


My aim in this sermon is to honor mothers and the high calling of motherhood. But ultimately, my aim is to glorify Jesus Christ, the One who instituted motherhood. At the cross we shall see how Jesus Christ beautifully set the example for us to honor our mothers.


Three things I want us to consider this morning - Mary's Situation, Jesus' Affection, and John's Submission.


I - Mary's Situation

The first time Mary was mentioned in the scripture, she was only a teenager. She was a young girl when angel Gabriel announced to her that she will conceive and bear a son. But the years have passed, Jesus was born and has grown, and so is Mary. She is not a young girl anymore. She could be 55 or 60 by now. And not only that, Joseph is gone. Although the gospels do not specifically record Joseph's death, he most likely died some time before the Lord Jesus began His public ministry. So Mary is alone and older now and needed the care and protection of another.


Now she stands at the cross beholding her firstborn son, who at this time is beyond recognition. It is hard to imagine what Mary was going through when she stood there at the cross. Imagine the suffering that she had to witness. She witnessed her son in agony and pain as He carried that cross to mount Calvary. She heard the insults and false accusations the crowd hurled at her son. She watched the Roman soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross. She heard her son cried in pain and agony as He is being tortured to death.


Imagine the heartbreak that Mary had witnessing all these. Who can begin understand what Mary was going through as she stood there at the cross? Like her son, Mary was also acquainted with grief, as all mothers are. There is no record in the gospels where Mary said a word of anguish or complaint but still her sorrow was real and deep. 


The hardest part of Mary's experience is that she could not do anything about it. Like all mothers, I believe she would trade places with her son if she could. But she knows that is not possible. She knows her son came to be the spotless Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. She knows it is not possible for her to take Jesus' place and die for the sins of the world, for she too needed a Saviour.

Luke 1:46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47: And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.


But here we see a display of the heart of a mother

The One dying there on the cross was her son. His disciples and friends forsook Him, His own people despised and rejected Him, but His mother stands there at the foot of His cross. She stayed at the cross to be with her son for the last time. She stayed at the cross to the last minute. She stayed at the cross and saw her son draw His last breath. What a display of the heart and love of a mother to her child!


Isaiah 49:15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.


II - Jesus' Affection

Yes it is hard to imagine what Mary was going through but then it is even harder to imagine what our Lord was going through when He was hanging upon that cross. Our Lord was beaten with many stripes, made to carry that heavy and rugged cross, and then nailed to that same cross. By this time He was completely exhausted, in great pain and suffocating. He was in agony of body and soul, dying as a sacrifice, but then He did something completely unexpected.


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! 27: Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

In this moment of painful torture and shame, He looks at the crowd and He saw His mother and standing next to Mary is the apostle John. In the midst of all His agony and sorrow our Lord forgets Himself and thinks of others.


All throughout this passion He was thinking of others:


On the way to Calvary He saw the women weeping for Him, but what did He say?

"Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children" - thinking of the women and the children.


"Father, forgive them" - thinking of His enemies.


"To day shalt thou be with me in paradise" - thinking of the criminal by His side.


"Behold thy mother" - thinking of His mother. 


Here we see the perfect man setting the example.

Our Lord sets an example for us children to honor our parents. Our Lord not only taught in words but by in actions and deeds. He lived what He preached. 


Yes, in the midst of all the pain and agony, He thinks of His mother, and commits her to the care of His beloved disciple. He makes sure that His mother is cared for.


If our Lord Jesus, hanging in agony, remembered his mother at the very end of His life, then so should we.


On this Mother's Day, I wants us to be reminded that we have an obligation to our mothers to love them and to honor them.


We all know what the Bible says about our obligation to our parents.

Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.


Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2: Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; 3: That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.


What do you do and where do you begin? Let me suggest we do to honor our mothers:


1. Love them and show it

If you really want to take this word to heart His command to "Honour thy father and mother", go to your parents and tell them you love them and thankful for them. Do it while you have the chance.


If you could not go to them physically, make a phone or send them a note.


2. Live an honorable and godly life

Honor them not just by words but by actions. This is the best way to show our love and honor to our parents, by living an honorable and godly life.


You may say, "I no longer live with my parents." I think it is true that once you leave your home there will be times you will not be able to obey your parents. We all understand that. That is why the command is not just obey but also honor. There is never a time when it is okay not to honor our parents. I understand that to obey is not always possible. But to honor parents is always and forever. No one is discharged from that obligation.


Again somebody might say, "My parents are no longer with us, they already passed away."


What do you do then? The Bible never says, "Honor your parents only as long as they are alive." We are supposed to honor our parents as long as you are alive whether they are alive or not. 


How do you do that? Again the answer is, by living an honorable and godly life.


There are children in this world who do not have mothers like Mary or fathers like Joseph. Their parents were not there when they needed them. They walked away and left them and hurt them. Perhaps that is your situation. And so, you may say, "Pastor, I just can't do what you are saying." I get that. I understand. But even if your parents have hurt you, you are not dismissed from the command to honor them. 


If you cannot do anything else, you can honor them by forgiving them and refusing to be bitter against the people who brought you into this world. Life is too short to be bitter. I know this is easier said than done, that's why we need the Saviour and we need to often go to the Cross. There at the Cross, we see the perfect Son of God forgiving His offenders.


III - John's Submission

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 Bible says that when Jesus said those words from the cross, John took Jesus's commission seriously. He immediately, from that very hour, John took Mary into his own home. John's obedience was immediate and complete. 


This is a great responsibility given to John that would change his life and his way of life. But there was no complain about the expenses, trouble, and inconveniences associated with taking care of an aged lady. He readily and willingly submitted to his new responsibility and took Mary to his own home. According to history, Mary lived with John at Jerusalem for eleven years and then died. 


IV - Closing Thoughts

What wonderful examples we have here from three different persons, Mary being with her son in the hour of His suffering, Jesus loving and caring for her mother, and John humbly submitting to our Lord's commission.


But in closing I want us to behold two things:

1. Behold Jesus' Matchless Love for Us

Behold the heart of God! The heart that even on the cross felt for Mary, is a heart that never changes. Jesus never forgets any who love Him, and even in His worst condition He remembers Mary's needs.


Oh, to understand the depth of God's love for us. As He is shedding His blood for the sins of the world, He took care of Mary's need, showing us that He is not too busy, not too tired or not too distracted to care for us.


Jesus intentionally chose this moment to demonstrate the extent of His care for our lives. 


2. Behold His Care for the Small Things

God does not just care for and love us by offering us salvation. He wants to love you and me and care for us even in the smallest details of our lives. He loves and cares for us in the big things, but also the smallest details of who we are.


"God does not just love you as a Saviour 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."


The application today is very simple.

This story is about a God and Saviour who stops in the middle of paying the highest cost a person could pay, to make sure Mary is cared for. This is the Saviour we are invited to trust. He is One whose love is beyond comprehension and who cares even the smallest details of our lives.


Would you not trust this Saviour? Would you not love this Saviour? Would you not serve this Saviour?


The invitation is clear ...

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.