Mary at the Crucifixion

Jesus triumphant entry into the city

Jesus triumphant entry into the city

We last saw Mary being rebuked by Jesus, when she came to him out of concern.  Several years have passed during which Jesus was in the depths of his ministry.

We’re not told which events in Jesus ministry, teaching and miracles Mary was there to witness.  While she may not have been there for everything, it seems plausible that she was there for at least some of it.

Did she think back to the days when Jesus was an infant?  Did she remember and ponder the words of Simeon and Anna in their prophecies?

Jesus has been celebrated as he entered into Jerusalem, shared the Last Supper with the disciples, prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, and been arrested and tried.

Was Mary close by to observe all of this?   Where was she when she received word that her son had been arrested?  Was she at the trial?

We can be sure her heart was broken upon hearing the news.

He was arrested

He was arrested

Regardless, of where she was she clearly rushed to the scene to be close to her son.  In her mother’s heart she longed to take her son’s place.  There were probably a lot of questions in her mind and heart that she didn’t understand.

After all, if this was the son of God, why didn’t he come down off of the cross?  Why didn’t he bring the military resistance everyone expected in the Messiah?

We don’t know how much Jesus and God prepared her for this moment, but we know Simeon and Anna did in their prophecies.  We don’t know how much she understood about what was happening.

What we do know, is just as she was there at the beginning, she was also there at the end.  Joseph has most likely died and Mary is the only person that has been with him from the beginning to the end.

Beaten and sentenced to death...

Beaten and sentenced to death…

John 19:25-26 (KJV)
 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.

Mary was there for Jesus, but she was also surrounded by the other women that had followed him.   I can imagine these women huddled together supporting one another and crying together during this difficult time.

26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

One of Jesus last acts before dying was to ask the “disciple whom he loved,” which we know was John, to take care of Mary as his own mother.  This one verse is what leads historians to believe that Joseph had already died.

Our Four Gospels commentary says, “By using the title “woman” Jesus addressed his mother at the end of his ministry with the same word which he had used at its beginning.”

His last act was to care for his mother...who was present at the crucifixion...

His last act was to care for his mother…who was present at the crucifixion…


Why did he not give Mary to one of her other sons?  Maybe because they were not there, but most likely because they were not believers {yet} in Jesus.

Our commentary explains this in the following way, “Thus he cut her off from all parental authority over him. In this last hour our Lord bestows upon his helpless mother the disciple whom he loved, who was then in the flower of his manhood. All of Christ’s disciples are thus appointed by him protectors of the helpless, but few recognize the behest as John did.”

What we know is that Jesus loved her enough to look out for her and make sure she was taken care of.

Mary’s heart had to be breaking?  Did she have any clue that this was the fate of her son?

Mary cradling the body of her son

Mary cradling the body of her son

One can imagine that after Jesus death and he was taken from the cross, she cradled his battered body in her arms.  Can you see the scene?  Her heart breaking, the tears rolling down her cheeks, as she knelt on the ground and cradled his blood soaked head in her lap.

Was this the end?  Was this what her son had come to earth for?  There had to be something more!

Jesus prepared his disciples and is quoted on five occasions predicting his death and resurrection.  How many more times did he speak of this that we are not told of?

Mary's heart was broken. Her son was dead.

Mary’s heart was broken. Her son was dead.

Had she heard his teachings enough to know that hope had not been lost?  Did she remember that in three days he would be “raised from the dead”?


Photos Courtesy of
Picture 5 courtesy of MorgueFile

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.