Week Six: Mary at Calvary

Verse to memorize

“Behold, your mother” (Jesus, John 19:27)


So they took Jesus and, carrying the cross Himself, He went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle…. When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took His clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took His tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down. So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be…Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.


1A) Q: In the Gospel of John, when Jesus suffers by being nailed to the cross for three hours and dies on Calvary, where is His mother Mary? A: At the foot of the cross.

1B) Q: Who is with her? A: Two women from Galilee: her sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Also “The disciple whom He loved”.

1C) Q: Who is this disciple? A: We do not know for sure, but tradition has held that it is St. John, the brother of James, the Greater and the son of Zebedee who is the source of the Gospel of John.

2A) Crucifixion was a cruel form of execution of criminals used by the Romans, and other rulers before them, to frighten and intimidate subject populations. A Roman citizen could not be crucified. Q: Why was Jesus executed? A: He was falsely accused by the Jewish authorities of blasphemy, saying He was God. The Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, knew Jesus was innocent but feared the leaders of the Jews.

2B) Recall old Simeon’s prophecy at the Presentation in the Temple. Q: What did he tell Mary regarding Jesus? A: “A sword will pierce your heart.”

2C) Q: What did this symbolic image refer to? A: Mary’s intense suffering as a witness to the persecution and death of her only son.

3A) Q: What did Mary hear as Jesus hung dying? A: The voices of four Roman soldiers, casting lots (dice?) for His clothes.

3B) Q: Who stood next to her? A: St. John. (Mary is absent from most of His public ministry but is right there at his death to share His agony.)

4A) Jesus speaks to Mary from the cross. Q: What does He say? A: “Woman, behold your son.

4B) Q: What does He say to St. John? A: “Behold, your mother.” This statement of Jesus is loaded with meaning.

4B) Q: What do you think it means? A: Answers will vary:

  1. Jesus’ dying effort was to make provision for His mother’s care.
  2. Just as Mary’s words at the wedding at Cana “Do whatever he tells you” have both an immediate and eternal meaning, so too Jesus’ words, “Here is you mother” echo down the centuries. Mary is our mother. She is also the mother of the Church.


Courtesy of The Bible Project