Read John 19:25-37
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” (John 19:25, 26 TNIV)
One of the things I find most interesting about this text is this brief conversation between Jesus and his mother. We don’t get the opportunity to observe their relationship much in scripture, but in John, he almost bookends his gospel with two brief, but fascinating conversations between mother and son.
The first conversation comes in John 2:1-5. Jesus and his disciples are at a wedding feast and the host has run out of wine.
When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:3, 4 TNIV)
But despite his reluctance, he went ahead and made the best wine that anyone had ever tasted. Then everyone at the wedding celebrated this great miracle and gave all honor and glory and praise to Jesus, right? Nope. In fact, the master of the banquet praised the bridegroom, not Jesus. His disciples saw his glory and believed in him, but basically he turned water into fine wine and then went quietly on his way. “My hour has not yet come.” If not now, then when? If not through some miracle, then how will your glory…. how will the fullness of your identity be revealed to the world?
Fast forward now to John 17.
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. (John 17:1 TNIV)
At this point, especially in John’s telling, Jesus has done miracle after miracle, sign after sign but NOW his hour has come? What is going to happen in this hour that could reveal the nature and character of God more fully than what he has already done?
Fast forward again now to our text for today… this brief conversation between mother and son. Jesus, from the cross says, “Woman, HERE is your son.” Hanging on a pole, dying on a hill in heat of the middle eastern sun God with us… Emmanuel… Jesus is glorified. The fullness of Jesus’ identity is made known.
It wasn’t through miracles or displays of power, although they certainly reveal something of the glory of God and give us insight into his Kingdom. Instead, the glory of God was revealed in Jesus’ death on that awful, terrible, humiliating, mysterious and beautiful cross. No matter how hard I try, I will never fully understand how it works, but somehow by his own suffering and death Jesus freed us from our own. Somehow by his own death, Jesus disarmed the evil one from his greatest weapon. Sin has lost its power. Death has lost its sting.
I don’t know if a terrified and grieving Mary understood or found comfort in the words of her son as she watched him die. I’m not sure that any of us will ever really understand the hows or even fully the whys of the cross. But what I do know is that I am grateful. What a God we follow in Jesus! What a God he is who is glorified in his humility! How might God’s character be revealed to others through the way I live and move in the world today?
“Woman, here is your son.” Here is our God.