After Jesus was raised upon the cross, darkness enveloped the land as a divine omen that the sun had set upon the Jewish nation for its rejection of its Savior, the promised Messiah. But even in the midst of that spiritual darkness that all the more hardened the hearts of the unbelieving Jews, the hope of the gospel light was already beginning to shine forth from His cracked earthenware vessel, softening the hearts of others, like the Roman soldiers who had crucified Him, foreshadowing those to whom God’s kingdom would come after being taken away from Israel; see Mat 27:54; cf. Mat 8:10-13, 21:43. Also during that time of darkness during which Jesus was otherwise silently enduring His sufferings upon the cross, He cast a glimmer of light to His mother, who was in the darkness of her own despair. By entrusting her care to His closest disciple, He encouraged her with the hope of life beyond that present darkness. Such thought for the provision of His mother, especially at such a time, also reminds us of the importance of obeying the fifth commandment to honor our parents.
At the time that Jesus entrusted the care of His mother to John, how many women does John record were standing by the cross of Jesus? See Joh 19:25. I.e., was the sister of Jesus’ mother the wife of Clopas and also named Mary, so that there were three women, or is her sister to be distinguished from Mary the wife of Clopas so there were four? Is it likely that the mother of Jesus and her sister had the same name? Later that afternoon, following Jesus’ death on the cross, Matthew and Mark record that a number of women who had followed Jesus from Galilee were looking on from a distance; who do they name of particular significance? See Mat 27:55-56, Mar 15:40. Is it reasonable to assume that Mary the mother of James and Joseph that Matthew mentions is the same as Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses that Mark mentions? Note especially the parallel construction of Mat 27:56 and Mar 15:40. Is it also possible and even likely, since Mary Magdalene is clearly identified in all the descriptions, that the other Mary noted by John as the wife of Clopas is the same Mary noted in Matthew and Mark as the mother of James and Joseph? Is it also reasonable to assume that the reason Jesus’ mother is not mentioned among those looking on from a distance is because her great anguish and sorrow would have caused her to leave the scene shortly after or perhaps even before Jesus died? What third person do Matthew and Mark note as looking on from a distance along with Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph? See again Mat 27:55-56, Mar 15:40. In comparing these two accounts, what can we infer was the name of the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee? In comparing this third woman with the third woman mentioned by John as earlier being near the cross, what might we infer about the relationship between Salome, the mother of James and John and Mary the mother of Jesus? Should we be surprised that John, who never names himself in his gospel, referring only to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved, would also not name his mother?
How does this likely relationship of James and John’s mother to Jesus’ mother help us to better understand why on a human level after not being accepted in Nazareth Jesus left there and went to Capernaum where He met James and John (Luk 4:16-31)? Cf. Gen 27:41-43. How does it also help us to understand why James and John put their mother up to asking Jesus for them to sit at His right and left in His kingdom (Mat 20:20-21)? Why is it also reasonable to suppose that although Mary left the scene earlier, her sister Salome would have remained for some time after Jesus’ death with Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see what happened, but then left to rejoin her, leaving just the two Marys to see where they laid the body? Cf. Mat 27:61, Mar 15:47. How does it also help us to understand why Jesus entrusted to John, who would have been His cousin, the care of His mother? What do these things also affirm about the wholly human nature of Jesus, in addition to His divine nature as God?
But why would Jesus entrust the care of His mother to John, a cousin, instead of one of His brothers, such as James, who wrote the book of James in the New Testament and would later become head of the church in Jerusalem, or Jude, who wrote the book bearing his name? See Mat 13:55-56, Mar 3:20-21,31-35, Joh 2:12, 7:1-7, Act 1:14, Gal 1:19, 1Co 9:5, and observe that during Jesus’ ministry even His own brothers were not believing in Him and at times His family thought He was out of His mind; it was only after His death and resurrection that they came to understand the truth of Who He was and believe in Him; cf. Isa 51:18. On the other hand, the Scriptures seem to indicate that Mary herself had an abiding, humble faith in her son, certainly more than did His brothers, so that she was actually closer in spirit to John than to them. Quite possibly, she was instrumental in them quickly coming to faith after His resurrection; cf. Luk 2:19, Act 1:12-14. It is also possible that Jesus entrusted to John the care of His mother because He foresaw the persecutions that would overtake His own brothers (Josephus records that James was stoned to death by the Jews around 62 a.d.) or make it impossible for them to provide for her the rest of her life, but from which John alone, the beloved disciple, would be spared, perhaps in order to ensure the care of His mother, as history records. Cf. Joh 21:18-23.
The Atonement of Christ's Blood: Understanding How the Blood of Christ Saves and Reconciles us to God
- What is the relationship between Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption, forgiveness and receiving an inheritance per the terms of the covenant / will that was effected by His death?
- From what, and to what, are we saved? Is it Jesus’ death alone that saves us? What part does His resurrection have in our salvation?
- Does the justice of God demand the satisfaction of blood before He will forgive, similar to what pagans throughout history have believed?
- What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?
- Does blood alone atone for sin?
- How does Christ’s death render powerless the devil?
- To whom was Christ’s life given as a ransom? From what are we ransomed?
- Why did Jesus not only die, but suffer and die? If all that was necessary was His shed blood, why didn’t God sovereignly ordain a more merciful death for His own dear Son?
- What is the relationship between a will or testament, and a covenant? What was willed to Jesus as an inheritance from His Father, and what was willed to us through the new testament in His blood?