Last words are important, especially from loved ones. When Jesus looked upon His mother, Mary, in compassion He gave instructions about her future. Pastor Lutzer pictures that poignant moment between the Son of God and the mother of Jesus. What if our proximity to the cross clarified our God-given assignment?
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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” Thanks for joining us again as we continue our study, entitled, “Cries from the Cross: a Journey into the Heart of Jesus.” As I’ve been emphasizing, I hope that you encourage your friends to listen. What you should do is subscribe, follow, and share, because we will be blessed and in this world, with so many voices, we have to listen to the words of Jesus on the cross.
Today we come the third saying of Jesus on the cross. Here He is. He is in great agony and He looks over and He sees His mother. Mary had come to the cross. And then over there He sees John. Now Jesus never calls His mother, “mother.” So He looks over to her and says, “Woman, behold thy son” and then He looks to John and says, “Behold thy mother.” Now, think of it this way. Jesus is in great suffering—incredible suffering. And what does He do? He’s thinking of others. He’s thinking of His dear mother. Almost certainly Joseph had died by this time because he passes off the scene of scripture after Jesus was 12 years old and in the city of Jerusalem discussing theology with the Pharisees. So Mary comes and she is standing there seeing her son suffer, suffer terribly.
You know, it’s hard for us of course to be able to get into her shoes and think of what she is going through. But her suffering was terrible. That little brow that Jesus had as a child that she so often kissed, that brow now was crowned with thorns and blood running down to His face. Those hands that she guided as she was teaching Him to walk. Those hands were now being crucified, nails through them. But there she stands. And she recognizes that she might be able to intervene. She could probably go to the authorities and say that He was insane and they might have given a reprieve but she doesn’t. She does not want to interfere with divine redemption. And she knows that as she is there at the foot of the cross she is being redeemed along with all the others who will eventually believe on Jesus Christ. She was aware of that.
She stands also as a sinner. I mentioned earlier that Jesus never refers to her as His mother. Remember in the story that takes place in Cana of Galilee. “Woman, what have I to do with thee? My hour has not yet come.” Jesus wanted to maintain that distance because she was His earthly mother but He was her Heavenly Son. It’s the mystery of the incarnation. But standing at the cross also was John, and from that time on we read that John took Mary and took care of her, no doubt until she died.
Now Jesus gave John an assignment standing at the foot of the cross. Somebody else that was there was Salome, who was actually the mother of James and John. Now she’s the mother, if you remember, who said to Jesus, “Would it be okay if one of my sons were at your right hand and the other on the left?” She was trying to take care of her boys. But standing at the foot of the cross, no doubt she was greatly humbled and she realized that the cup that Jesus was drinking was unique. And there she stands but I’m going to ask you a question today. If you are at the foot of the cross, visualize yourself being there, will Jesus have given you an assignment? I think so. I think that Jesus would have given all of us an assignment even as John had an assignment to carry out His will and His purposes from that time on for as long as we lived. The cross of Jesus Christ is a place where people discover themselves, their sin, their redemption, but also their assignment.
Now there’s something else happening at the cross. While all this is taking place, here are some soldiers that are spending their time gambling, and that reminds me of today actually. In the midst of all that we are going through and we think of the wonder of the cross and the wonder of our redemption. So many people ignore it and they are into themselves, doing whatever they think is important and they are not thinking of eternity. They are not realizing how important it is to accept what Jesus Christ did on our behalf.
I want to leave you today with a challenge. Remember the song that we used to sing? And I’ll see if I can remember the words:
Jesus, keep me near the cross; there a precious fountain.Free to all, a healing stream flows from Calvary’s Mountain.
The closer you and I get to the cross, the more clear the assignment that Jesus gives us will be to us. Draw near today. And as for today, you just go with God.