Caller: I wonder why Jesus never called his mother ‘Mother’ He always called her ‘woman’. From the cross there in John 19, He always called her ‘woman’.
Pastor Doug: Keep in mind, that’s the King James translation of that phrase ‘woman’ in our language it sounds almost derogatory—it sounds like a motorcycle biker talking to his motorcycle mama—hey, woman, come here. But we don’t understand that that word in Hebrew means ‘madam’. It was a term of respect. You know, Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, ‘Woman, where are your accusers?’ Well, He wasn’t talking down to her.
He was actually addressing her with respect. So when Jesus said to his mother, while He hung on the cross, ‘Woman, behold your son’, ‘Son, behold your mother’, it was a term of respect. In our language—you know how terms change with every generation? Like, you know, fifty years ago you tell someone you’re happy and gay—it had a whole different meaning than it has now. So back in 1611 Woman was a term of respect.