Who Is At “The Foot Of The Cross” When Jesus Dies?

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In a few more days and it will be Good Friday – the day we remember the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  When you come near to the cross again, what is in your mind?  How do you feel?  What should you do in response to such a sacrifice?

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On the day Jesus was crucified, many people stood watching.  Many eyes were on Jesus as He hung on the cross, but they didn’t see Him the same way.  The religious leaders mocked Him.  They said, in Mark 15:31b, “He saved others, but he can’t save himself!”   Many who walked passed hurled insults at Him.

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“Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” (Matt 27:40b).  And then we have the soldiers.  They were casting lots to divide his clothing among them. In today’s reading, we read of another group of people standing near the cross.  We will look at 3 of them and understand what it means to them to be near the cross.

(1)  Mary Magdalene

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Her name was mentioned in Luke 8:2 – a woman possessed by seven demons, and Jesus cast them all out.  She was living in pain, living in bondage.  Satan was at work in her life, seeking to destroy her life.  Mary was sick, and living a hopeless and helpless state.

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Régnier Penitent Mary Magdalene.jpg

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Penitent Mary Magdalene by Nicolas Régnier, Palace on the Water, Warsaw

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But Jesus came into her life.  And changed her life completely.  She was delivered from the demons, from her bondage and sin.  She became a faithful follower of Jesus.

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 Mary Magdalene FORGIVEN by Greg Olsen

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Throughout the suffering of Jesus, His death, burial and resurrection, we see her name appearing again and again.  She was close to Jesus during the last hours of His life. So when Mary Magdalene stood at the foot of the cross, she was looking at the Person who has healed her completely.

Mary Magdalene, Carlo Dolci. 17th century

She was looking at her Saviour – the One who has delivered her from the bondage of Satan and sin, and brought her into freedom and a new life.  She was looking at the One whom she knew – has the power to change lives. When you look at the cross, do you see that?  Do you know Jesus as the One who has changed your life and given you the hope of life?

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Mary Magdalene, shown in a painting by Guido Reni, repenting of her former sinful ways. The Walters Art Museum.

When the resurrected Lord appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, He said (Acts 26:17-18): “17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins…” This is what Jesus did for Mary Magdalene. He redeemed her and bought her out of her miserable condition.

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Mary Magdalene, in a dramatic 19th-century popular image of penitence painted by Ary Scheffer

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But, redemption is a costly thing. When Jesus delivered Mary Magdalene, it cost Him something. Standing there at the cross Mary saw the PRICE being paid. Jesus had to die that we might be redeemed and be freed from the bondage of sin and Satan. No wonder she loves Him so much.

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It is no wonder Mary Magdalene was standing there at the cross. It is no wonder that Mary Magdalene was there at His burial. It is no wonder that Mary Magdalene was there at His resurrection.  She was the first one to reach the tomb where Jesus was laid; the first to realise that the tomb was empty.  She was the one standing outside of the tomb crying, and the first one to see the resurrected Lord; the first one to hear His voice again.

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Today, when we look up to the cross, we are looking at One who has the power to change lives.  Only Jesus can deliver us from the bondage of darkness and Satan, and give us a new life.  Mary Magdalene experienced that and so can you.  Put your trust in Jesus today.  Like Mary, let us come near to the cross with gratitude and love in our hearts for Him. Look Up To Him – He Has The Power To Change Your Life!

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Mary Anoints Jesus feet by Lionel Phillips

[Mary Anointing Jesus’ Feet, by Peter Paul Rubens is perhaps more well known]

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Mary Magdalen Anointing Jesus’ Feet, by Giordano Luca

 

(2) Mary, the Mother of Jesus

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Mary was Jesus’ earthly mother.  We can imagine the pain in her heart – watching her beloved son dying on the cross.  Yet she knew it was all God’s will.  God has given her this child, when she was still a virgin.  She was told to give him the name JESUS, for He will save the people from their sin.

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At that time, she sang a song – Luke 1:46-49, “My soul glorifies the Lord 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, 48for He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.  From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His name…” Mary knew this day would come.

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She was obedient to the will of God.  Standing at the foot of the cross, she knew she was God’s favoured one (Luke 1:28), and she was watching God’s will being fulfilled for the salvation of mankind. Yet it wasn’t easy.  It was painful.  The prophet Simeon has already prophesied to Mary long time ago, when Jesus was dedicated in the temple as a child – that “a sword will pierce your own soul.” (Luke 2:35).

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File:The Madonna in Sorrow.jpg

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The Madonna in Sorrow, by Sassoferrato, 17th century

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She suffered physically when she brought the Saviour into the world.  She suffered shame and reproach when found to be with child before marriage.  She fled to Egypt to save her child, but countless innocent children died because of her child.  Now that her child was nailed to the cross for the sin of the world, she was in grief.

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But Jesus saw her and had compassion for her and assured her of His love for her.  Jesus remembers her even in His most agonising moment.  He saw his disciple John standing beside her and said, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to John, “Here is your mother.” (19:26-27). Jesus felt her sorrow, and he knew her loneliness.  Jesus comforted her.  She was going to lose a son, but from now on, John will be like a son to you.

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Our Lady of Sorrows by Tianna Mallett

Jesus provides for his mother.  He knew her sadness and burdens.  Jesus did not neglect her needs even while on the cross.  That’s the heart of God, bro/sis. Jesus didn’t have any possessions to give to anybody. The soldiers had gambled for His clothes. What could He give Mary? He gave John – the disciple whom He loved.  And from that very hour John took her into his own house (19:27). Do you feel ignored by God?  This is never true.  The Lord cares for you.  Your needs are always before Him.

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Sometimes, when God removes one comfort from us, He raises up another for us.  Sometimes we don’t even aware of it. We see here Jesus performing a filial duty.  Christ has here taught children to provide, to the utmost of their power, for the comfort of their aged parents.  When David was in distress and running from King Saul, he took care of his parents, and found out a shelter for them.  1 Sam 22:3 “David went to Mizpah in Moab and said to the king of Moab, “Would you let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God will do for me?”

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So he left them with the king of Moab, and they stayed with him as long as David was in hiding.  Children at their death, according to their ability, should provide for their parents, if they survive them. Ultimately, God rewards those who suffer or have suffered for his sake. Jesus knows our trials  and our needs.

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The Scriptures teach us that, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.” (2 Tim 2:12). Look Up To Him – He Still Cares For You and Will Provide For You. Do you need comfort?  Come to Jesus today.  Do you need hope?  Come to Jesus now. Don’t run away from the cross, bring your burdens and lay it down at the foot of the cross.

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(3) John, the Beloved Disciple

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Finally we saw JOHN – the disciple whom He loved.  John describes himself this way in his entire Gospel – because he has experienced Jesus’ great love for him.  Of all the disciples, he was the only one mentioned, standing at the foot of the cross.  You can see where his heart was.

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John The Apostle By Peter Paul Rubens

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For John, to be at the cross was to stand at a place of responsibility.  Earlier on, at the garden of Gethsemane when the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, all the disciples fled in fear.  John returned.  He came back to the cross.  He knew he had to stand up to what he believes in.  He must not let Jesus down. Bro/sis, we may stray and run from Jesus because of fears, problems in life, hardships…  But don’t stay away too long.  Come back.   It doesn’t matter what you’ve done.  You need to come back to Jesus, because at the cross is the place where we find forgiveness, deliverance and restoration.  Where else can we go?

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For John to stand at the cross was probably not the safest place to stand (many of Jesus’ followers were in hiding); it was not the easiest place to stand.  It would have taken courage and love for John to come back to the cross.  Many years later John wrote in his letter, 1 John 2:2 “[Jesus] He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” John not only experience the forgiveness of sin, he was given a responsibility.  Jesus asked John to take care of his mother Mary; John was to be a son to her.  He has to do what Jesus can no longer do physically.  He was there when Jesus needed him.  He was able to do serve His Master to the end.

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Are we prepared to hear His call today?  In a similar way, all of us are given an assignment.  You are taking His place here on earth – to tell the world of God’s love and His forgiveness in Jesus.  He is no longer physically here.  We are His hands and feet, to preach the Gospel and bring others to Him.

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John the Theologian on the island of Patmos by Mironov

Jesus said in John 20:21, “As my Father has sent me, even so, send I you.”  You and I represent Jesus to others.  If we stand by the cross and accept all that Jesus has done for us, then we must also acknowledge the responsibility He has given us.  Like John, we love Him, we must love others (John was to care for his mother), and to love others the same way Jesus loves us. Look Up To Him – Hear His Call And Do What He Has Delegated To Us 2 Cor 5:19b-20 “And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” Are you looking up the cross like…

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(1) Mary Magdalene – knew Him as the Saviour who changed her life

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(2) Mary – knew Him as the son who cares and provided for her

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(3) John – knew Him as His Master whom he serves, and will do the work he was called to do.

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http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/standing-a t-the-foot-of-the-cross-christian-cheong-sermon -on-cross-agony-67434.asp

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Peter and John Running to the Tomb by Eugene Burnaud

Related:

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John and Peter racing to the tomb on Easter morning — “HOPE” by Liz Swindle

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2 Responses to “Who Is At “The Foot Of The Cross” When Jesus Dies?”

  1. Dayna wadkins Says:

    Thank you for answering my question of how many disciples were at the cross when Jesus was crucified. I learned about this a couple days ago, but I wanted to make sure that it was just one as I had just told my grown son, Daniel that there was only one. Now I know that disciples name was John. I thought it was Peter. Grateful for access to such important information.

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