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"Behold your mother..."

Love Ran Red  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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From the cross, Jesus ordained a new family. A family centered on Courage, Commitment to the Gospel, and Compassion for one another.

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Being close enough, but still missing what’s important.
Getting Trakr’s for Christmas
We continue our series on the last seven words of Christ from the cross today. I said last week that Jesus is without a doubt the most influential person in the history of the world. So from even a historical point of view, it would be a good use of our time to study his last words. The last words spoke carry a lot of weight, plain and simple.
The words we are looking at today started something. They started something I believe is one of the most amazing things about the the life of faith. In fact you could say that the words we are looking at today are the ones that actually started the church.
Let’s look.

“Behold your mother…Behold your son…”

Don’t just play games in the shadow of the cross

Before we begin talking about the text, let’s remember what has happened.
The night before this happened, Jesus was praying in the forest with his closest disciples Peter, James, and John. Then, Judas appeared with the temple guards and officials in tow to arrest Jesus. Jesus was taken back and subjected to 3 different “trials” throughout the night, only to have Pontious Pilate sentence him to death.
He was flogged. That means beaten with a whip. Not just any whip, but beaten with a whip made with multiple stands of leather and at the end of each stand would be pieces of bone, stone, or pottery in order to increase the damage to the criminal.
After he was beaten, he had a crown of thorns forced upon his head. He was beaten, spit upon, mocked and ridiculed.
Now he was stripped naked and nailed to a cross for the whole world to see while the sign above his head read King of the Jews.
right there are his loved ones. They have been following all along, his mom, his aunt, and a few of his dearest disciples. They are watching this happen in real time, not hearing about it from a witness.
They see the blood flowing down. They hear him struggling to breathe. They are helpless to do anything but pray.
Then they are distracted by some laughter and what sounds like arguing.
They are shocked to see this. Not only is Jesus being brutally killed, but right their at the foot of the cross they are arguing over his clothes.
These soldiers really don’t care what they think. They pull out Jesus’s tunic and the aruguing heats up. They are fighting for the things like dogs over a scrap of meat.
What can they do though....nothing. Finally, they each have a trophy to call their own. They each admirre the clothes that once covered the body of my friend. They begin to put it on, admiring it. You think to yourself, that they will never be as good as the man who wore them first.
Then you see Jesus moving. He is pushing himself up to breathe.
Jesus wasn’t being punished. The Romans wanted to do much more than just punish. They wanted to shame Jesus. They wanted to humiliate him just like any other criminal. The problem was, Jesus wasn’t a criminal. He had done nothing wrong, yet here he was, beaten, spit upon, mocked, just like any other criminal. But Jesus endured this punishment, this humiliation and held his honor in tact.
We can only imagine what those who loved him were be feeling. But what i find most striking is what those who didn’t know him were doing.
The soldiers are closer than anyone at this moment to Jesus, yet they don’t see what is happening. They don’t or can’t see who he truly is. It’s a lesson that we should appreciate. Just being close doesn’t really do much.

Just being close really DOESN’T count. Vs 23-24

Here they were within feet of the most influential man the world has ever known, the one who is dying to save the whole world, and what are they doing? Mocking him and claiming his clothes as souvenirs. But they go even further, that dividing up his belongings to take home. They cast lots for his tunic, his undershirt, beecause this one was special. It was too nice for them to just tear apart and each have a piece. They decided they would roll dice to see who gets to keep it.
Simply gambling for a trophy.
I asked in the Digging Deeper this week for you to consider the areas of your life you felt that you were just hanging out around the cross for a trophy like the soldiers.
Where were you finding meaning in life outside of Jesus? your kids, your spouse, your work, your church.
All these are good things but if they are all we think of when we are near the cross, we are just playing games like these soldiers.
Instead of trusting the one who could change their destiny, they were playing games. Instead of honoring the one who was dying for them, they were playing games. Instead of mourning the death of the one who was paying their penalty, they were playing games. Instead of living their life for him, they were seeking to gain from his death. The were close to him, but close doesn’t count.
What’s funny is that the way the writer of The Gospel of John describes this by describing it as casting lots. Casting lots was a Jewish practice of determining the the will of God. It was a way of flipping a coin. If you trusted God to lead no matter the direction, you could cast lots and in effect put yourself in God’s hands. That’s what it means to cast lots.
These soldiers were not trusting God, no they were playing games. They were playing games right here under the cross. But this wasn’t to come as a surprise to anyone for it was exactly how the psalmist described in Psalm 22 which Jesus certainly felt that he was living out…we will talk more about this in future weeks.
John and the others would argue with you at this moment, but God was at work. God had determined that this was going to happen long before. God had purposed that his son Jesus would live a sinless life as a man and die the death of a criminal, for us.
It’s a powerful image, Jesus bleeding, dying on the cross. just a few feet away are a group of soldiers gambling for his clothes and just beyond them, his family and friends are gathered. Having to watch.
But being close isn’t enough. No as teh Apostle John would later right. letters that explained and expounded on this reality. The reality that Faith was what mattered. As he recorded Jesus speaking in John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
We have to believe who Jesus said he was, God in the flesh. You have to put your trust in him to have accomplished what he claimed and proved he was doing, reconciling us to God.
No, being close doesn’t count, it is Faith that counts. and changes our lives.

FAITH is what really counts. Vs 25

That’s what made these other folks different. They had cast their lot in with Jesus. They had bet everything on him. They believed he was who he claimed to be. They loved him.
That’s who Jesus focused on, those who loved him. His disciple and his mother, his aunt, and the rest. Scripture says he fixed his eyes on them. It took courage for these folks to be here. To tell the world that they had cast themselves with Jesus. That they were all in with him. It showed commitment. They had followed all night, all the way to the cross. and here they were together at the cross, showing the sort of compassion for one another that Jesus knew woudl be necessary in the days to come. As Jesus hung dying on the cross, struggling to breath. Pushing himself up in order to get the air in his lungs to speak one more time, Jesus spoke words that would point people to a new reality as people of faith, we are a new family.
John 19:26–27 (ESV)
26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, 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.
Jesus had brothers and sisters who should be responsible for her. But Jesus wanted to be clear that love and faith in him would be the basis for a new family.
This new family would take precedence over their biological relationships.
A new family closer than any legal or cultural expectation.
That’s what I love about the church. I shared that with you the 2nd or 3rd week I was with you some 4 years ago now. That God can bring us together from all places on earth, from all different backgrounds, with all sorts of issues, and right at the cross, when we cast our lot with Jesus, we become, because of our faith, a family.
It would be an answer to John’s request when they came into town, that he wanted to be at Jesus’s right hand when he went into glory…now Jesus was saying, take your place, care for what I can’t care for.
This was a fulfillment of what Jesus had taught back in
John 15:12–17 NIV84
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.
Jesus was now calling John to follow through on this teaching.
Jesus was starting a new understanding of being a church, a family birthed at the cross, but centered on Jesus.
The cross is not a place to play games.
For years, I did. I came to church, but I didn’t give my life to Jesus. I enjoyed the blessings of God, the love of his family, but I wasn’t really part of it. I got angry at God because he gave me things I didn’t deserve. I wasn’t part of that family and I knew it. I knew that I had been playing games my whole life, I had worn jesus’s clothes, but I knew I wasn’t good enough. Because if I were to be completely honest, I knew that I had never thrown myself in with Jesus.
Then one day I realized that it didn’t have to be this way. Jesus had died to create a new family, yes. But his death was also the way for me to become a part of it.
I became part of the family.
Maybe you feel alone. You need to know you aren’t. God has a family prepared to love you.
Maybe you feel like you don’t know your purpose. You have had a successful life and now you need something to give your life meaning.
Maybe you are disconnected from God. You don’t know how to reconnect. He did the heavy lifting in Jesus.
I want to pray for you.
Today as we share in Holy Communion
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