Summary: Many people were there at the foot of the cross, but they did not look at it in the same way. We’re going to see through the eyes of Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus and John the beloved disciple.
Five more days and it will be Good Friday - the day we remember the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. When you come near to the cross again, what is in your mind? How do you feel? What should you do in response to such a sacrifice?
On the day Jesus was crucified, many people stood watching. Many eyes were on Jesus as He hung on the cross, but they didn’t see Him the same way. The religious leaders mocked Him. They said, in Mark 15:31b, "He saved others, but he can’t save himself!" Many who walked passed hurled insults at Him. "Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!" (Matt 27:40b). And then we have the soldiers. They were casting lots to divide his clothing among them.
In today’s reading, we read of another group of people standing near the cross. We will look at 3 of them and understand what it means to them to be near the cross.
(1) Mary Magdalene
Her name was mentioned in Luke 8:2 - a woman possessed by seven demons, and Jesus cast them all out. She was living in pain, living in bondage. Satan was at work in her life, seeking to destroy her life. Mary was sick, and living a hopeless and helpless state.
But Jesus came into her life. And changed her life completely. She was delivered from the demons, from her bondage and sin. She became a faithful follower of Jesus. Throughout the suffering of Jesus, His death, burial and resurrection, we see her name appearing again and again. She was close to Jesus during the last hours of His life.
So when Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross, she was looking at the Person who has healed her completely. She was looking at her Saviour - the One who has delivered her from the bondage of Satan and sin, and brought her into freedom and a new life. She was looking at the One whom she knew - has the power to change lives.
When you look at the cross, do you see that? Do you know Jesus as the One who has changed your life and given you the hope of life?
When the resurrected Lord appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, He said (Acts 26:17-18):
"17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins..."
This is what Jesus did for Mary Magdalene. He redeemed her and bought her out of her miserable condition.
But, redemption is a costly thing. When Jesus delivered Mary Magdalene, it cost Him something. Standing there at the cross Mary saw the PRICE being paid. Jesus had to die that we might be redeemed and be freed from the bondage of sin and Satan.
No wonder she loves Him so much. It is no wonder Mary Magdalene was standing there at the cross. It is no wonder that Mary Magdalene was there at His burial. It is no wonder that Mary Magdalene was there at His resurrection. She was the first one to reach the tomb where Jesus was laid; the first to realise that the tomb was empty. She was the one standing outside of the tomb crying, and the first one to see the resurrected Lord; the first one to hear His voice again.
Today, when we look up to the cross, we are looking at One who has the power to change lives. Only Jesus can deliver us from the bondage of darkness and Satan, and give us a new life. Mary Magdalene experienced that and so can you. Put your trust in Jesus today. Like Mary, let us come near to the cross with gratitude and love in our hearts for Him.
Look Up To Him - He Has The Power To Change Your Life!
(2) Mary, the Mother of Jesus
Mary was Jesus’ earthly mother. We can imagine the pain in her heart - watching her beloved son dying on the cross. Yet she knew it was all God’s will. God has given her this child, when she was still a virgin. She was told to give him the name JESUS, for He will save the people from their sin. At that time, she sang a song - Luke 1:46-49, "My soul glorifies the Lord 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, 48for He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49for the Mighty One has done great things for me - holy is His name..."