What does John 19:25 mean?
ESV: but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
NIV: Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
NASB: Now beside the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
CSB: Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
NLT: Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene.
KJV: Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
Verse Commentary:
Unlike modern executions, crucifixion was intended to be as public as possible. Crosses were placed where they could be easily seen. The location of this execution is near enough to the city (John 19:20) that many people can see what is happening. None of Jesus' followers or family would need special permission to be here. Given that Jesus is being executed, at least officially, for opposing Roman rule (John 19:19), the situation is more complex. Being associated with Jesus at this point could be dangerous.

Risks aside, it's tragic to note that only one of the disciples, John (John 13:23), is nearby to see His master's death (John 19:26). Whether any others are hiding nearby is unknown (Matthew 26:56; John 20:19). Any who happen to be watching are doing so from a considerable distance (Luke 23:49). Adding to their shame, of the five people known to be there for Christ during His crucifixion, four are women. In that culture, women were dismissed as powerless, weak, and easily abused. Jesus did much to dispel those myths, and even at His execution, the women who followed Him prove braver than most of the male disciples (John 16:32).

Jesus's mother could be forgiven for not wanting to watch something so horrifying. Yet, here she is. That this is happening, at all, fulfills a prophecy given when Mary first learned she would bear Jesus (Luke 2:35).

Scholars are not entirely sure who Mary's sister is. Some believe it might be Salome (Mark 15:40; 16:1). It's possible this person is also the mother of the disciples John and James (Matthew 20:20).

This is the first time John's gospel mentions Mary Magdalene. She is referred to by other Scriptures as someone Jesus healed of possession by seven demonic spirits (Luke 8:2). Her main contribution to the gospel story, however, will come when she encounters Jesus after His resurrection (John 20:18).
Verse Context:
John 19:17–30 describes Jesus' unjust execution by crucifixion. The Roman governor, Pilate, ironically puts a sign on Jesus' cross proclaiming Him "King of the Jews." This angers Jewish religious leaders, but the governor refuses to take the sign down or change the wording. As Jesus calls out to John to care for His mother, Mary, soldiers gamble for what's left of His clothes. Jesus pronounces the completion of His atoning sacrifice and dies. Matthew 27:31–56, Mark 15:22–41, and Luke 23:32–49 cover this same series of events.
Chapter Summary:
Pilate recognizes Jesus' innocence, but fears the mob assembled by Jewish religious leaders. He attempts to satisfy them by having Jesus viciously whipped and mocked. This only results in more cries for Jesus' death. The governor then shifts to protect his own reputation, ordering Jesus to be crucified on a charge of being "King of the Jews." John is directly present as Jesus is executed. He notes the fulfillment of several prophecies as Jesus dies. Once He is confirmed to be dead, Jesus' body is taken by two friendly members of the ruling council. They hastily bury Him in the borrowed crypt of a rich man.
Chapter Context:
When Jesus was first brought to Pilate, His innocence was obvious (John 18:36–38). However, the mob refuses to be satisfied with anything less than crucifixion. Pilate gives in to these demands. John, who is present for the entire gory spectacle, notes several instances of fulfilled prophecy (Psalm 22:18; Psalm 69:21; Exodus 12:46; Zechariah 12:10). Jesus is then buried in the borrowed tomb of a rich man (Isaiah 53:9) to complete yet another Old Testament prediction. A guard will be posted to ensure no one steals the body (Matthew 27:62–68), which will only serve to confirm that Jesus' eventual resurrection was a true miracle (John 20:1–8).
Book Summary:
The gospel of John was written by the disciple John, decades later than the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls “signs”—in order to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in all of the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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