Mary & John at the Cross

three crosses

We’re spending a couple of lessons looking at those who were physically near the cross and the lessons we can learn from them. We’ve already talked about how our living closer to the cross means we increase our commitment, our responsibility, our understanding of His love, and our grace to others. Because we closely see what happened on the cross and what it means, we can share that meaning all the more in our own lives.

Mary at the Cross

We see Jesus’ mother at the cross watching her son who is being put to death, ridiculed by others, and treated like a common criminal. She knows her son’s innocence and is powerless to do anything. How would you or I react in such a situation? What would we expect to see a mother do? Would we expect wailing, anger, perhaps even bargaining? Mary is not recorded as doing any of these things.

In Luke 2:39-51, we can read about Jesus as a boy, staying behind in Jerusalem and speaking with the teachers and amazing those around Him with His understanding of God’s word. After Mary and Joseph bring Jesus home, we read that Mary kept these events in her heart. More than once, we read about Mary putting pieces together and keeping them in her heart. She was learning about her son as He grew, and she was seeing where He was going.

Prior to that, in Luke 2:34, Simeon prophecies to Mary about the pain in her Son’s future. She had already grown close to the cross before it happened. She understood His message and His love for others. That love extended to Jesus’ mother as He appointed her to care for the apostle John and he for her in John 19:26-27.

John at the Cross

Like Mary, we don’t see much reaction in this closest of the apostles. For him, everything is coming together. Jesus had predicted his own death and resurrection three times prior to entering Jerusalem, and John alone took these prophecies to heart. Of all the apostles, John is the only one we read of being close to the cross. He did not try to save Jesus. He did not try to end the injustice going on around Him. He was there, and He knew why Jesus was there. John understood the commitment Jesus made. He was already close to the cross.

John teaches us about Christ’s love in his books. He stays committed to Christ, and he shares that commitment with us to this day through his writings. We can read about his confidence in the name of Jesus, his hope, and the love of Christ. John saw that love shared on the cross. He knew what Jesus had to go through to give us hope, love, and grace. It had a lifelong impact on John, and it should have the same effect on us.

Us at the Cross

When the cross has a full effect on our lives, it will change us as it changed Mary and John. It should strengthen our commitment to a Savior who was willing to go through so much, and we should want all the more to share that love with others. But it takes courage to get that close to the cross. We can’t run from it. and be His. We can’t hide from it and be His. We have to approach that cross of sacrifice, crucify self, and allow Him to guide us.

lesson by Donn Koonce