Jesus On The Cross – The Last Words Of Christ
By Steph Nickel
Stephanie looks at Jesus on the cross, including some of the last words of Christ that are recorded in John 19 prior to His death. Stephanie points out that Jesus cared for others, even when He was at the point of death.
Last Words Of Christ
John 19:25-27 (ESV) tell us of one of Jesus’ last selfless acts. These verses read like this:
“Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”
I am not an expert on what the body and mind went through when being crucified, but I have heard the detailed explanations—and the experience was horrific. From the excruciating pain of nails being driven through one’s hands and feet to the humiliation of hanging naked for all to see, from the unbelievably painful necessity of pushing up on the nails to fill one’s lungs with air to the torment of hateful accusations being hurled in one’s direction.
And while many of those who were crucified were criminals, Jesus Christ was 100 percent sin free . . . except that He did become sin on our behalf that He might secure our eternal home with Him in heaven.
Jesus On The Cross – Final Hours
Yes, Jesus was the Son of God, a member of the Trinity and equal to His heavenly Father, He was 100 percent human as well. In His final moments it would have been completely understandable if He did nothing but focus on just making it through those final hours of His life on Earth. But that didn’t happen.
From the verses we read today—and from others in God’s Word—it’s clear that Mary’s husband, Joseph, was no longer on the scene. In fact, it seems apparent that he had been gone for some time. Women in that day without a husband or sons to take care of them were not in a good situation.
And though Jesus had said in passages like Matthew 12:48-49, “‘Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?’ And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers,’” that didn’t mean He didn’t have a deep love for the woman who had brought Him into the world and stuck by Him even when she didn’t fully understand everything that was to take place.
We know from the passage that we read today that He loved her deeply for He declared the disciple whom He loved, believed to be John, to be her son and her to be his mother. The understanding was that, from that point on, John would care for her. She wouldn’t be alone in the world.
Jesus Cared For Others
Jesus spent His earthly life caring for others. Not only did He heal the sick and raise the dead, He ate and drank with society’s outcasts, with “tax collectors and sinners.” He quietly validated the importance of women—who were not, as a rule, valued in that society. He allowed Lazarus’ sister Mary to sit at His feet and learn about spiritual matters—a no-no at the time. And later He accepted her sacrifice when she poured perfume worth a year’s wages on His feet and as she wiped His feet with her hair. And He spoke of spiritual matters to the Samaritan woman who had been married numerous time—again, completely unheard of.
As He died on the cross, He was performing the most selfless act of all time. And yet, He still cared about the practical needs of the woman who had raised Him, the woman who was enduring the unimaginable agony of watching the son she loved so deeply die in what is likely the cruelest way ever devised.
Expressing Love For Others
In Matthew 25 we read about expressing our love for Jesus by expressing our love for others. (This passage is well worth a detailed examination, which we won’t get into in this post.) However, it is enough to know that Jesus said whatever we do for the least of them, we have done for Him. And what was He talking about? Visiting the sick. Feeding the hungry. Clothing the naked. All very practical endeavours.
As we discussed yesterday, there is definitely a time for declaring truth verbally. In fact, we are always to have an answer ready for those who would ask us about our hope in Jesus Christ. And yet, in Matthew 25, our expressions of love are very practical.
As Jesus was dying on the cross, paying the price for our sin, meeting our every spiritual need, He was also meeting the very practical needs His mother would soon be facing.
Yesterday we talked about proclaiming the gospel no matter the cost.
Today I would like to remind you—and myself—that there is a time and place to reach out in ways that don’t seem particularly spiritual.
Do you have a friend in hospital? If you cannot go for a visit, why not drop a card in the mail.
Does your community have a shelter for the homeless? Consider volunteering some time.
Do you love working with children? Many schools have volunteer programs you can become involved in.
And if you have more time, why not consider fostering a child who has no one to love them and provide for their emotional needs?
Do you have a special place in your heart for the elderly? So many of them are lonely with no one to visit them on a regular basis. Perhaps, you could go into a local care centre and run a program or visit one-on-one.
And in so doing, we can rejoice in Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:40, which say: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
If you have enjoyed reading this post and wish to send us a comment or share a prayer request, please don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know.
Images courtesy of:
Crucifixion – Hans Memling
Crucifixion: Jesus and Mary – Public Domain (After Van Eyck)
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