Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.” John 19:25

One has to read all of chapter 18 and 19 to get the full picture of this scene. Jesus was arrested, given an unjust trial and then physically beaten. Imagine the effects of the Roman scourge on His body, with flesh exposed and blood flowing. Imagine the effects of the crown of thorns jammed onto His brow, with His face a bloody mess. Then, the crucifixion, with the spikes nailed to His hands and feet. Did He groan, cry out or scream in pain? Did His pain produce tears in His eyes?

On the cross itself He was likely stripped down to His undergarments. He was the object of mockery and ridicule. Scripture notes that close by the cross was the mother of the man Jesus. This man on the cross had once been the infant she carried in her womb. She had once nursed him, seen him dawdle along as a toddler and eventually grow into a man. “Why do they have to be so cruel?” she may have thought as her soul was pierced.

From one perspective, we could look on this scene and say this is nothing but a disaster. Mary shouldn’t have to suffer the pain and agony of seeing her son being tortured and killed. But, God’s word tells us much more was going on. Not only was Mary seeing a man be unjustly treated by other men, but Mary was also looking on the One who was also God and was making atonement for her sins on the Cross. The deepest suffering of Christ was not what the soldiers did to him, as bad as that was. Rather, it was the wrath of a holy God that was poured out on Him for the sins of Mary and for all those God purposed to save.

Note this, even in the darkest of hours with the worst of sufferings and injustice, God was accomplishing His purposes. Without the cross, Mary would not have seen this suffering, but she also would not have salvation! Your sufferings, believer, are not to remove sins like Jesus. But, rest assured, that even in the darkest hours, God has a wise, loving purpose. We see just a small picture while He sees it all. Jesus rose from the dead never to suffer again, and one day all who are covered with His blood will likewise rise up to suffer no more. He is risen!

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