Summary: God’s first and last thought is the welfare of his children! The Provision of the Cross is an act of covenant. It is not a half-job effort to fix things. It is a plan that would never turn back!
At some point or another you may have used this familiar phrase - Blood is thicker than water. The context in which we use it is to describe the meaning that blood-related families are more important than anyone else. R’ Richard Pustelniak, congregational leader for the Jewish community called House of Living Stones writes about this phrase. “This phrase has completely lost its original, covenant-related, meaning…The original meaning is, "The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb," or, "My relationship with those to whom I am joined in covenant is to be considered of more value than the relationship with a brother with whom I may have shared the womb."
God moves my heart when I realize He has been in covenant with us from the beginning of time. God made a covenant with Noah never to flood the world as he had this one time (Genesis 9). He made covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15) to give him a certain land to his descendants for generations to come. He heard the cries of slaves in Egypt (Exodus 2) and remembering his covenant to Abraham, set them free and delivered them to the land he promised their forefather.
We continue through the Bible and find covenant after covenant until we get to this most amazing, mind-blowing and humbling experience of the cross – the ultimate covenant; the covenant to which all other covenants in the Bible point! You see, Jesus believed blood is thicker than water! Those with whom he entered into covenant were more important than even those with whom he shared his mother’s womb!
The whole premise of today’s text is a language of covenant. As we consider two very important messages in our second sermon on Jesus’ Last Words, it is an interesting scene that holds cosmic messages which we must not miss. I want us to begin by considering
1. JESUS’ PROVISION AT THE CROSS
There are so many lonely people in the world. There may be a lonely person sitting right next to you and you can’t see it because it’s hiding under the smile and the smart clothes. “A "Ziggy" cartoon recently pictured the small, pudgy man sitting alone in a boat, drifting toward a tunnel with the sign above, "Tunnel of Meaningful Relationships”. A study by the American Council of Life Insurance reported that the most lonely group in America are college students. Next on the list are divorced people, welfare recipients, single mothers, rural students, housewives, and the elderly.
To point out how lonely people can be, Charles Swindoll mentioned an ad in a Kansas newspaper. It read, “I will listen to you talk for 30 minutes without comment for $5.00." Swindoll said, "Sounds like a hoax, doesn’t it? But the person was serious. Did anybody call? You bet. It wasn’t long before this individual was receiving 10 to 20 calls a day. The pain of loneliness was so sharp that some were willing to try anything for a half hour of companionship.”
Mary, Jesus’ mother, was a lonely woman. Her husband, Joseph, had died. Jesus’ half-brothers and sisters did not appreciate her commitment to Jesus, nor his claims of being Messiah, not to mention the disgrace he brought to the family as he died like a criminal. It seems from written accounts that they never showed up for his crucifixion.
Mary suffered – without her children’s support – as Jesus died like a criminal. She suffered as he died in disgrace. She suffered as he died in public. To cite Warren Wiersbe, pastor and author, “It was such a cosmopolitan crowd that Pilate wrote the declaration for the cross in three different languages! Our Lord,” he continues, “was not crucified in a corner somewhere! Openly, publicly, shamefully he was crucified. And there Mary stood, feeling the sword go through her soul.”
Max Lucado, pastor and author, captures the relationship between mother and son when Jesus began his ministry and would put away his carpenter tools and apron and set his face to the cross. “Mary is older now. The hair at her temples is gray. Wrinkles have replaced her youthful skin. Her hands are calloused. She has raised a houseful of children. And now she beholds the crucifixion of her firstborn. One wonders what memories she conjures up as she witnesses his torture.” She stands with her sister, two other women also named Mary and one man – one disciple – John.
Jesus knew her pain, her agony, her loneliness. The deepest expression of his love was to provide for his mother. “Woman, behold your son” was not Jesus’ cry that Mary look at Him in his grotesque and bloodied condition, but to look next to her to see John – her new son! Her new provider! Her new supporter! Saying “woman” versus “mother” is a respectful address that also speaks of a shift in relationship. Jesus was moving from being her Son to be her Saviour. This is one reason she was told sorrow would pierce her heart. As Jesus prepared to return to his Father in heaven His relationship with his biological mother was changing and Jesus took that into account because His love for his mother was deep.