Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.…
1. Many and dissimilar were the groups gathered round the cross. Some were drawn by hatred, some by curiosity, some by the duties of their office, these Marys by love.
2. Their position suggests the topic of spiritual nearness. All true piety begins in the soul's coming to the Cross.: Bunyan was right in keeping the burden on the back of the Pilgrim till he had a sight of the Crucified. But when the soul has gained that position, then begins the conflict of opposing forces. On the one side the Cross with its mighty magnetism; on the other the world with all its witcheries. But the importance of nearness to the Cross is seen if we regard it as the place in which to see —
I. OURSELVES. No one has seen himself till he has looked at himself in the light of the Cross. In that light sin is seen in its true colours — as God estimates it.
II. THE WORLD. The man of science has his position and outlook, and the statesman his. But only here is the true view. Here we see that it is a world for which Christ died and to every soul of which redemption is offered. It was this outlook that moved the great heart of Paul to heroic sacrifice and endeavour. The world had but one aspect to Him. Christ had died for it. This was the outlook of Judson and other devoted missionaries. Talk of philanthropy — there is none save that which is kindled at the foot of the cross!
III. THE CHARACTER OF GOD. The heavens declare His glory. God has never been without His witnesses if man would listen. But to fallen man another revelation was necessary, and that revelation just suited to man's deepest need was made by the Cross. It is there we learn how God loved a sin-blasted world.
(W. Lamson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.