World Wide Study Bible


a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary

25 And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” 27Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

28 After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” 29A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. 30When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Select a resource above

25-27. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary, wife of Cleophas—This should be read, as in the Margin, "Clopas," the same as "Alpheus" (Mt 10:3). The "Cleopas" of Lu 24:18 was a different person.

26, 27. When Jesus … saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved, standing by, he saith to his mother, Woman, Behold Thy Son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold Thy Mother!—What forgetfulness of self, what filial love, and to the "mother" and "son" what parting words!

from that hour … took her to his own home—or, home with him; for his father Zebedee and his mother Salome were both alive, and the latter here present (Mr 15:40). See on Mt 13:55. Now occurred the supernatural darkness, recorded by all the other Evangelists, but not here. "Now from the sixth hour (twelve o'clock, noon) there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour" (Mt 27:45). No ordinary eclipse of the sun could have occurred at this time, it being then full moon, and this obscuration lasted about twelve times the length of any ordinary eclipse. (Compare Ex 10:21, 23). Beyond doubt, the divine intention of the portent was to invest this darkest of all tragedies with a gloom expressive of its real character. "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried, Eli, Eli, Lama SabachthaniMy God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Mt 27:46). As the darkness commenced at the sixth hour, the second of the Jewish hours of prayer, so it continued till the ninth hour, the hour of the evening sacrifice, increasing probably in depth, and reaching its deepest gloom at the moment of this mysterious cry, when the flame of the one great "Evening Sacrifice" was burning fiercest. The words were made to His hand. They are the opening words of a Psalm (Ps 22:1) full of the last "sufferings of Christ and the following glories" (1Pe 1:11). "Father," was the cry in the first prayer which He uttered on the cross, for matters had not then come to the worst. "Father" was the cry of His last prayer, for matters had then passed their worst. But at this crisis of His sufferings, "Father" does not issue from His lips, for the light of a Father's countenance was then mysteriously eclipsed. He falls back, however, on a title expressive of His official relation, which, though lower and more distant in itself, yet when grasped in pure and naked faith was mighty in its claims, and rich in psalmodic associations. And what deep earnestness is conveyed by the redoubling of this title! But as for the cry itself, it will never be fully comprehended. An absolute desertion is not indeed to be thought of; but a total eclipse of the felt sense of God's presence it certainly expresses. It expre'sses surprise, as under the experience of something not only never before known, but inexplicable on the footing which had till then subsisted between Him and God. It is a question which the lost cannot utter. They are forsaken, but they know why. Jesus is forsaken, but does not know and demands to know why. It is thus the cry of conscious innocence, but of innocence unavailing to draw down, at that moment, the least token of approval from the unseen Judge—innocence whose only recognition at that moment lay in the thick surrounding gloom which but reflected the horror of great darkness that invested His own spirit. There was indeed a cause for it, and He knew it too—the "why" must not be pressed so far as to exclude this. He must taste this bitterest of the wages of sin "who did no sin" (1Pe 2:22). But that is not the point now. In Him there was no cause at all (Joh 14:30) and He takes refuge in the glorious fact. When no ray from above shines in upon Him, He strikes a light out of His own breast. If God will not own Him, He shall own Himself. On the rock of His unsullied allegiance to Heaven He will stand, till the light of Heaven returns to His spirit. And it is near to come. While He is yet speaking, the fierceness of the flame is beginning to abate. One incident and insult more, and the experience of one other predicted element of suffering, and the victory is His. The incident, and the insult springing out of it, is the misunderstanding of the cry, for we can hardly suppose that it was anything else. "Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias" (Mt 27:47).

28-30. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished—that is, the moment for the fulfilment of the last of them; for there was one other small particular, and the time was come for that too, in consequence of the burning thirst which the fevered state of His frame occasioned (Ps 22:15).

that the scripture—(Ps 69:21).

might be fulfilled saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar—on the offer of the soldiers' vinegar, see on Joh 19:24.

and they—"one of them," (Mt 27:48).

29. filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon—a stalk of

hyssop, and put it to his mouth—Though a stalk of this plant does not exceed eighteen inches in length, it would suffice, as the feet of crucified persons were not raised high. "The rest said, Let be"—[that is, as would seem, 'Stop that officious service'] "let us see whether Elias will come to save Him" (Mt 27:49). This was the last cruelty He was to suffer, but it was one of the most unfeeling. "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice" (Lu 23:46). This "loud voice," noticed by three of the Evangelists, does not imply, as some able interpreters contend, that our Lord's strength was so far from being exhausted that He needed not to die then, and surrendered up His life sooner than Nature required, merely because it was the appointed time. It was indeed the appointed time, but time that He should be "crucified through weakness" (1Co 13:4), and Nature was now reaching its utmost exhaustion. But just as even His own dying saints, particularly the martyrs of Jesus, have sometimes had such gleams of coming glory immediately before breathing their last, as to impart to them a strength to utter their feelings which has amazed the by-standers, so this mighty voice of the expiring Redeemer was nothing else but the exultant spirit of the Dying Victor, receiving the fruit of His travail just about to be embraced, and nerving the organs of utterance to an ecstatic expression of its sublime feelings (not so much in the immediately following words of tranquil surrender, in Luke, as in the final shout, recorded only by John): "Father, into Thy hands I COMMEND My spirit!" (Lu 23:46). Yes, the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. His soul has emerged from its mysterious horrors; "My God" is heard no more, but in unclouded light He yields sublime into His Father's hands the infinitely precious spirit—using here also the words of those matchless Psalms (Ps 31:5) which were ever on His lips. "As the Father receives the spirit of Jesus, so Jesus receives those of the faithful" (Ac 7:59) [Bengel]. And now comes the expiring mighty shout.

30. It is finished! and he bowed his head and gave up the ghost—What is finished? The Law is fulfilled as never before, nor since, in His "obedience unto death, even the death of the cross"; Messianic prophecy is accomplished; Redemption is completed; "He hath finished the transgression, and made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness, and sealed up the vision and prophecy, and anointed a holy of holies"; He has inaugurated the kingdom of God and given birth to a new world.