Each one of the Gospel writers mentions the women at the Cross. I was blessed this morning while meditating about these ladies, who loved Jesus just as much, or maybe even more than I do. I asked myself, had I lived in that era, would I have been there by the Cross? Am I willing to sacrifice everything for Jesus? Am I willing to bare the disgrace he bore?
Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.
When Jesus was arrested, the disciples all deserted him and fled. They probably were afraid of suffering the same fate. But in his hour of greatest suffering, the women were there. These were the women that followed him in Galilee caring for his needs. The same women that followed him to Jerusalem, with the same loving disposition to care for his needs.
Not all of the women are mentioned by name, but the following are the ones that are named by Matthew, Mark, and John. Luke gives us another perspective. He mentions that “all those who knew him” stood at a distance. So, you male readers, be assured that there were also men there (I’ll get to some of them).
These are the women honorably mentioned:
- Mary, the mother of Jesus
- Mary Magdalene
- Mary the mother of James and Joses
- The Mother of Zebedee’s sons (John and James)
- Jesus aunt (Mary’s sister)
- Mary the wife of Clopas
What men are honorably mentioned? John was there at the Cross. He calls himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Luke tells us that all who knew him were standing at a distance. John was brave; he stood at the foot of the cross.
Jesus had a special assignment for John. He felt his responsibility as the oldest son to care for his mother, so the disciple that he loved was entrusted with caring for her.
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother… When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
Jesus was born like the lowliest but buried like a King. He even had a guard of soldiers watching his body. As the women observed every detail in the brutal death of their beloved Master, a man came out of the shadows. For Joseph from Arimathea it was time to take a stand for Jesus. He was a secret disciple, but at this dark hour he could not keep it secret anymore. He had his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock, and that is what he was going to offer Jesus.
He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. The custom was to wash the body and then wrap it in strips of linen mixed with sweet smelling spices, starting from the feet and then up through the neck. The head was wrapped separately. Seventy-five pounds of a mixture of myrrh and aloes seem quite a lot. But some historians tell us that when King Herod died some five hundred servants carried the spices used in preparing his body. There were not so many preparing the body of the King of kings.
The women followed Joseph and saw where he buried their Master and Savior. Mark mentions Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses, saying that they saw where Jesus was laid. Luke tells us that the women went home and prepared spices and perfumes. They rested on the Sabbath, but Sunday, very early in the morning they took the spices and went to the tomb.
The women were with him to the end. They had followed him in Galilee; they had followed him to Jerusalem, knowing what he had said to his disciples, that he was going to be crucified; together with the curious crowd they followed him to the Mount of Calvary; they also followed the body to the tomb.
Mary had served the purpose God had for her. The most favored woman had raised the Son of God. Now this mother’s heart had been broken. We can only imagine the emotions going through her soul. But she was there, at the Cross!
One of these women, one of several Marys in the New Testament, would have the privilege to bring the greatest and most wonderful news ever told. We’ll leave that for tomorrow.
I was not at the Cross, but I am one of the millions of women that today, in 2013, give him all my love. I offer myself as a living sacrifice, my spiritual act of worship to honor the God-man that gave his life so that I could have life—life eternal.