Summary: “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.’” In the midst of His pain and recognizing that He is about to die for the
Final Words of a Family Man
In the days before expectant fathers were allowed in the delivery room, four dads-to-be gathered in a Minneapolis hospital waiting room while their wives were in labor. The nurse arrived and announced to the first man, “Congratulations, sir. You’re the father of twins.” The man was very proud and said, “What a coincidence. I work for the Minnesota Twins baseball team.”
The nurse returned in a little while and spoke to the second man, “Dad, you’re the father of triplets.” The faltering father replied, “Wow, that’s an incredible coincidence. I work for 3M.”
An hour later, the nurse came back with some news for the third man, “Way to go! Your wife just gave birth to quadruplets.” The man was stunned and had to sit down. When he gathered himself he said, “I don’t believe it. What an incredible coincidence! I work at the Four Seasons Hotel.”
Just then the fourth guy fainted and crashed to the floor. The nurse rushed over to him and gave him some smelling salts. When he was finally able to speak, he kept muttering the same phrase over and over again: “I shouldn’t have taken that job at 7-Eleven. I shouldn’t have taken that job at 7-Eleven.”
This morning we’re focusing on the ultimate family man. While Jesus never married and had natural children, He was committed to His family. We see this especially in His dying moments as we listen to the third cry from the Cross recorded in John 19:25-27: “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.’” As we’ve been learning in this series based on the Seven Shouts From the Savior, its no coincidence that Jesus spoke the words that He did. These anguished expressions perfectly reflect His person and purpose.
· Forgiveness (Luke 23:32-34)
· Salvation (Luke 23:39-43)
· Family (John 19:25-27)
· Loneliness (Matthew 27:45-46)
· Suffering (John 19:28-29)
· Triumph (John 19:30)
· Reunion (Luke 23:44-46)
Four Apathetic Soldiers
Before we reflect upon the four hurting women gathered near the cross, I want to set the scene by focusing not on four expectant fathers, but on four apathetic soldiers. Please turn in your Bible to John 19:23-24: “When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. ‘Let’s not tear it,’ they said to one another. ‘Let’s decide by lot who will get it.’ This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, ‘They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.’ So this is what the soldiers did.”
Have you seen the commercial about the tourist on a cruise ship who is sightseeing for whales? As he looks down, fumbling with his camera, everyone else sees a great white whale fly out of the water. As the amateur photographer looks up, he sees the excited look on everyone’s faces and says, “What? Did I miss something?”
In a similar way, a whole group of guys missed something that Good Friday morning. Jesus had been placed under the supervision of four Roman soldiers who had beaten Him, marched Him to Golgotha, crucified Him and were ultimately responsible to make sure He was dead. They were so close to the foot of the cross and had somehow missed it. How is that possible? I think there were at least three reasons.
1. Familiarity. By the time of Christ, crucifixion had become the favorite method of execution in the Roman Empire. Historians tell us that Rome had already crucified more than 30,000 people in and around Judea. Crucifixions had become methodical to these four soldiers. It’s what they did for a living so they had become numb to it.
This was not just a problem in the first century. The Cross today has largely lost its impact because it’s so familiar. It’s amazing to realize that the instrument of execution in the first century has become a fashion statement today. We’ve sanitized and beautified what was once loathed and feared. Friends, some of us are no longer moved by what Jesus did on the cross because we’ve simply become too used to it. Those of us who have been Christians for a while can become numb and even bored by the cross. It’s not proximity that makes us believers. Sometimes those who grow up closest to the cross end up rejecting Him completely.
2. Prejudice. A second reason the soldiers missed what was happening is because the Romans hated the Jews and the soldiers stationed there would have found great pleasure in executing a Jewish man. That’s why they mocked Him with the robe, put a crown of thorns on Him and spit on Him. Do you remember the pictures of that U.S. soldier who was beaten and killed and dragged through the streets of Somalia? Those who murdered him didn’t know him. He was just a convenient scapegoat for their hatred of America. A similar sentiment was probably behind the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter, who was killed in Pakistan sometime this past month.