Motherhood at the Cross | John 19:25-27
Date: May 14, 2023
Series: Stand Alone Sermons
Mother’s Day- 2023 “Motherhood at the Cross” John 19:25-27
INTRO> Happy Mother’s Day to all the women of West Side! This church is blessed with many biological mothers and many spiritual mothers! I want to approach today a little differently and I want to do that by looking at what is considered to be one of the greatest works of art ever produced by a human being, that is Michelangelo’s “Pieta” It is the marble statue of Mary holding Jesus’ lifeless body. It stands at 5ft 9in by 6ft 5inches. the year was 1498 and Michelangelo was only 23 years old… unbelievable. But there is a problem with the Pieta today, Today it is housed in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in Italy. The problem is the way that you view it. You see, when Michelangelo was sculpting this master piece, there was no light bulbs, lol So sculptures and painters focused all on “natural sun light” As it stands in St Peters, it is on a platform and is lit from the front. As it is presented now, when you stand in front of the statue, Mary appears to be the focus, Jesus’ face is even turned away. The problem is that it was never created to be seen that way and completely changed the artisti focus. You see, it was originally housed at the Chapel of Saint Petronilla, a Roman mausoleum, that had a sun-light and was supposed to sit directly on the floor. When the statue is lit this way, Mary’s face has a shadow on it and Jesus is the focus of the statue. One critic said that when it is presented this way, “It seems as though Christ could fall from her lap and be presented to you at any moment.”
APP> You see, through time, the focus shifted off of Jesus and onto Mary, when in all reality, Jesus is the focus. That is a good illustration of what I think has also happened when it comes to motherhood and womanhood.
The Warped Messages of Womanhood:
- “I’m enough.”
- “I don’t need anyone.”
- “This is just who I am.”
- “ I have to hold it all together.”
CONTEXT> Even in our verses today, we must be careful. I read this week this basic outline of the passage: 1) A mothers love endures to the end 2) Jesus took care of his mother to the end 3) Be like Jesus. Is that why this is recorded? Like the Pieta we must focus on Jesus and how Jesus’ cross affects motherhood.
- Cross shaped motherhood is close to the cross.
- “but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister. Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.” This is such a significant scene and John uses strong language. The word “by” here actually means “beside”. “But standing beside the cross..” Isn’t that beautiful!
- “There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him…” Matthew 27:55
APP> It’s very interesting that we see the main group far away then we know at some point this group moves closer, right next to the cross. The worse is gets, the closer they get to the cross.
APP> The cross of Christ is not a place we visit, it’s a life we live.
2) Cross shaped motherhood isn’t safe.
- “but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother..” this dawned on me this week. This is Jesus… Jesus is perfect… and this is Mary, Mary literally raised the perfect kid! And she is watching him die a tortues death…
- How can she do this? Remember what she said, “And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38
APP> Following God’s will is never safe but its good because God is always good.
3) Cross shaped motherhood finds its identity in Christ.
- v26 “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Do you see the play on words “sees his mother” “says Woman” Why didn’t Jesus say, Mother? Woman isn’t a disrespectful term, it’s like us saying “Ma’m”.
- “Her identity as Jesus’ mother is not important to John. It’s striking that John never uses the name Mary for Jesus’ mother, in fact it’s remarkable how rarely the mother of Jesus is called Mary in all of the NT apart from the nativity story. As the NT presents her, when her son enters upon his ministry, she becomes a follower as others do and she is a beloved member of the new family that comes into being through the power of Christ death.” Fleming Rutledge, Three Hours, pg 29
APP> Mary didn’t achieve her worth through motherhood, she received her worth through Jesus Christ.
4) Cross shaped motherhood is motherhood to a new spiritual family.
- “he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.” This is so much more than Jesus just taking care of his mother, this is a symbol of the church!
- And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:31-35
“You cannot have God for your Father unless you have the church for your Mother.” – Cyprian of Carthrage