September 23, 2013
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
‘Woman behold thy son .’
‘I thirst .’
‘It is finished.’
Calvary was the scene of great contrasts: the hatred of men and the love of God; the hour of His greatest sorrow and greatest joy. It was the place of shame yet of untold glory; the hour in which He was forsaken by God, yet bringing the greatest honor and joy to His Father.
Contrast after contrast, paradox rivaling paradox can be seen there. One of the contrasts which John highlights is the concern of men over against what concerned the Lord Jesus. Leaders were interested in place, in securing their power bases; soldiers were concerned with supplementing their incomes with a few of the spoils which came to them from the executed criminals. So at the base of the cross they divide and gamble.
But what marked our Lord Jesus Christ amidst all of this? Notice His care for a widow. “When Jesus therefore saw His mother .” A few women gathered to view the scene. Some came to witness the scene; others may have come to support her in her hour of trial and sorrow. John was there out of devotion to His Lord. To John, the Lord committed the care of His mother. “Behold thy mother,” were His last words to John. While it meant that John was now responsible for her welfare, was it also a mark of His tenderness and concern for her? Was He, in effect, sending her away from the scene of suffering and death to spare a mother’s heart the grief of observing His suffering? It would be so consistent with His character to spare others grief amidst His own sorrow.
“I thirst,” gives insight into His care for the Word of God. One Scripture needed to be fulfilled. It was not enough that they had offered Him the gall when He arrived at Calvary (Matt 27:34), nor that they had mockingly taunted Him with the vinegar while on the cross (Luke 23:36.) No, it must be “in My thirst they gave me.” (Ps 69:21), for the Word of God to be fulfilled. His concern was ever to fulfill the word of God.
Finally, we see His concern for the work of God, when He cried, “Finished.” With what joy that shout was heard in heaven! How it must have echoed through the corridors of the Father’s house. The work which had been committed to His hands fully, faithfully, and finally completed. Never more would He have to suffer. Never again would God have to make to “meet upon Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa 53:6).
His concerns were all centered on others, while the concerns of others were all centered on themselves. His concerns reveal His character and His heart, display His glory, and evoke worship from our hearts for Him.
1. Can you link these three utterances from the cross with three of the animals used in the burnt offering in Leviticus 1? Can you see the sensitive dove, the surefooted goat, and the bullock?
2. Notice the three different occasions as noted above, in which the Lord was offered something to drink and think about the differences each highlights.
3. “The disciple whom Jesus loved.” Why does John use this expression for himself? Do you think that the Lord loved Him more than others? Or do you think that what John valued above everything else, was that he was loved by His Lord?