Summary: The cross displays God's universal affection for all of us; God's personal affection for each of us; and our affection for Jesus and one another.

1. “Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross.”

2. If we had been in Jerusalem on the Friday Jesus was crucified, how close to the cross would we have stood?

a. Matthew 26.30-32 (cf. Zechariah 13.7)

30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.”

b. The Shepherd had been struck and the sheep scattered, even to the point of denial.

3. Yet, some stood with Jesus – John 19.25-27

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.

4. The scene of the cross is an affirmation of affection

I. The Cross is an Affirmation of God’s Universal Affection

A. The Cross Reminds us that Jesus Died for:

1. Friends – John 15.13

2. Enemies – Romans 5.8

B. Jesus Died Because He and the Father Loved – John 3.16

II. The Cross is an Affirmation of Jesus’ Personal Affection

A. We See His Respect for Mary

[The Longest will ever probated was 4 volumes containing 95,940 words! The shortest was three words, “All for Mother!” Jesus succinctly cares for his mother.

1. “Woman” – title of respect (also in John 2 with water to wine)

2. “Behold your son.” Jesus or John? Works both ways.

[There is a story that one of the Roman soldiers wrote a letter home in which he described taking Mary to the foot of the cross of Jesus. He had been so badly beaten that she did not recognize him and asked, “Which one is he?”

3. He had firstborn responsibilities of caring for the family

4. He had no earthly possessions to give her (casting lots for his clothes); so he gave her a new son

B. We See His Regard for John

1. This is a privilege for John and an enormous responsibility

2. God had entrusted Jesus to Mary; now he is entrusting her to John

3. What has God entrusted to you and me? Will we behave responsibly or frivolously?

C. Don’t Forget Jesus’ Definition of His Family – Mark 3.31-35

31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”

III. The Cross is an Affirmation of Affection for Jesus

[Too often we think of how bad we are towards Jesus but there are also positives – 2 Corinthians 5.14-15 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (NIV)

A. The Progression – from a Distance to Closeness – Matthew 27.55-56

55 There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, 56 among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

B. The Four Women:

1. Mary, His Mother

a. Seems to lead the way to her Son

b. She is experiencing the prediction Simeon gave her at his dedication – Luke 2.35

c. She is rewarded at the cross with care

2. Mary’s Sister – Salome – the wife of Zebedee

a. Mother of James and John (Sons of Thunder)

b. The cross was a place of Rebuke for her selfish request – Matthew 20.20-28

c. James was the first apostle to be Martyred; John the last to die

d. “Forbid it Lord that I should boast. . .”

3. Mary the wife of Clopas – Alphaeus, therefore the mother of James the Less – know little about him but believe he was faithful

4. Mary Magdalene

a. The cross was a place of deliverance/redemption – Jesus had cast out 7 demons from her (Luke 8.2)

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