“Near The Cross”

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister (Salome), Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother and the disciple standing by, whom He loved (John)… -John 19:25-26

When Jesus was crucified, there were a number of people who stood near the cross. We pray and sing, “Keep me near the cross”, but what does it really mean to be near the cross where Jesus was crucified? I am not speaking about a literal, physical presence, but I am referring to a spiritual positiona special relationship to Jesus Christ.

John gives us insight by name to several people who stood near the cross when Jesus faced the crucifixion. From these we can understand what it means to be near the cross.

Mary MagdaleneA Place of Redemption

Luke 8:2 tells us that Mary Magdalene was a woman whom Jesus had cast out seven demons. She had been in bondage to Satan for a long time, doing terrible things. Then, Jesus came and cast out the demons and delivered her from bondage.

When a person trusts in Jesus Christ for deliverance, these same marvelous changes take place in their life. The individual goes from darkness to light; from the power of Satan to the power of God; from being guilty to experiencing forgiveness; and from being spiritually impoverished to becoming spiritually wealthy. That is what Jesus did for Mary Magdalene. Standing near the cross, Mary saw the price paid for her deliverance. Jesus died that we might be redeemed and bought back from bondage. It is no wonder that Mary stood near the cross, because she had experienced deliverance from sin and the gift of salvation.

SalomeA Place of Rebuke

Who is Salome? Most Bible scholars identify her as Jesus’ mother’s sister, the wife of Zebedee and the mother of James and John. As the mother of James and John, she was one who asked Jesus a very selfish request: “Can my two sons have places of honor in God’s Kingdom?” Jesus’ response to her was, it is not His to give away. Salome forgot the cost of the reward. There are many times that we can be selfish in our desires, thinking about ourselves. As we draw near to the cross, we see Jesus and not our selfish ambitions and motives.

Mary, the mother of Jesus 

A Place of Reward Mary was Jesus’ earthly mother. He did not ignore her on the cross, but rewarded her by sharing His beloved disciple with her. Why did Jesus reward her? Because of the suffering Mary was willing to endure. She suffered shame, reproach, and gossip when she was found to be with child while engaged to Joseph. She suffered emotionally as she felt the climax of Simeon’s prophecy concerning the death of her son and as she watched her innocent son suffer and die in a public and shameful death. Jesus felt her sorrow and suffering as He hung on the cross and He rewarded her. Likewise, He rewards those who suffer with Him; then we shall reign with Him.

JohnA Place of Restoration and Responsibility

For John, to be at the cross was to stand at a place of restoration and responsibility. John stood at the cross restored, for he, along with the other disciples, had forsaken Jesus and fled for their lives at the garden of Gethsemane. However, John returned to the cross restored and forgiven. Jesus gave him the responsibility to care for His mother. As we stand near the cross, it is a place of restoration and responsibility as Jesus forgives and restores us in our relationship to God. He gives us the responsibility to be an example and tell others of the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

As we prepare for Easter, let us keep our eyes and hearts near to the cross as we recognize what Jesus did for all of us. The cross is a place of redemption, rebuke, reward, restoration, and responsibility. Let us value the great love that Jesus has for us. Until then, let us continue…

Changing Lives For Eternity!

With Love, Pastors Terry & Tina Richardson