“Therefore the soldiers did these things. But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene.” (John 19:25)
Don’t miss this little phrase in the narrative which describes these brave women: “STANDING BY THE CROSS OF JESUS.” More than a mere description of the physical proximity of these women to the Lord, these words dramatically symbolize their commitment and loyalty to Him. Jesus disciples had scattered (Matthew 26:56 says “then all the disciples left Him and fled”); Peter had denied Him three times; but these women steadfastly stood there by His cross, undaunted by its shame.
In our age, many are abandoning the cross of Jesus, as it is not “popular” in many circles. But let our commitment be like that of these women, and of the Apostle Paul, who declared: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for the it is the power of God for salvation to every one who believes.” (Romans 1:16) Let us also stand by the cross!
But just HOW, practically, can we “stand by the cross”?
— In our personal trust, we can stand by the cross: knowing that our only hope of salvation is not in anything of ourselves, but only what HE did for us on that cross.
— In our preaching let us stand by the cross: do not abandon the preaching of the cross for something more popular or palatable.
— In our personal conversation and witnessing let us stand by the cross: don’t be ashamed to speak to others of the cross of Jesus.
— In our personal commitment let us stand by the cross: not moving away from our belief in its reality and power.
— In our personal lifestyle let us stand by the cross: being willing to follow in His steps, and suffer for His cause, and for ministry to others, if necessary.
Many of us might consider ourselves aligned with the sentiment of the old hymn: “I will cling to the Old Rugged Cross” — but when it really comes down to it, in these kinds of practical, daily ways, are we really DOING it? May it be written one day of us, as it was of these brave women, that in the uncertainty and distress of our own days, we were found “standing by the cross of Jesus.”