Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph and Salome.In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.
Jesus has just died. His long and agonizing struggle with pain was over. His limp body hangs motionless on the cross. And at this historic, never to be repeated moment in time, you would only say something important. You have everybody’s attention, so your next words should be chosen carefully.
So, what group of Jesus’ followers are the first to be mentioned right after his death? The disciples? No, they’re off hiding somewhere with their tales between their legs. The wealthy? No, there was no longer the need to support his ministry from their wallets. Well, how about all the people who welcomed him to Jerusalem less than a week ago as their king? No. They had yelled for his condemnation and crucifixion.
It was “some women.” While we don’t know exactly how many women were there, three are mentioned by name. We know that Mary Magdalene had been freed from seven demons. But precious little is known about this others: Mary and Salome.
In addition to these three, there were many women who were following Jesus. And they bravely went with Jesus all the way from Galilee. At their own expense. They weren’t following Jesus to get their names on some kind of list. To have Jesus click on their picture. To brag that Jesus was on their “friend” list.
Here at the crucifixion, they were simply there. Watching. But more than watching for a few seconds and then clicking on another app, or changing channels when they got bored, they kept on watching. They were constantly watching Jesus. Watching over Jesus to help and serve him. It didn’t matter how small. How boring. Or dull it might be. That didn’t matter because they were serving Jesus. They were serving God the Son, the Son of God.
They were actively looking for ways to help with any detail. They did this in two ways.
Following – they were constantly and actively following Jesus all the time. They didn’t stop when it became inconvenient. Or they got tired. Or they got a better offer. No, they joined him along the road of life and stayed.
Caring – they were constantly and actively caring for his needs, all the time. They were willing to serve. To do good things. With a giving and gracious attitude. They were willing to put someone else ahead of themselves.
When did their following and caring happen?
Not when they felt like it.
Not when the Spirit moved them.
Not when it was convenient.
Not when they had extra time or money.
No, they followed and cared for Jesus when they had the chance. When they had the opportunity to be with and serve Jesus. They had a once-in-a-lifetime opening to be with and serve Jesus. And they took it. They leapt at the chance.
One book says it better than I ever could.
They were the “forerunners of the noble army of Holy Women, who were, in the ages to come, throughout the length and breadth of Christendom, minister.”
There are some who do their best to put down and minimize others. They look for ways to make some people seem less valuable. Less important than themselves.
God took the time and trouble to remember these special women in a special way. There is no record of any group of guys who followed Jesus and took care of his needs. Only women are remembered like this. Not men.
These women did a special thing. They helped Jesus in very practical ways and without any desire for recognition. They used their own time and money to help and without a receipt for tax purposes. They didn’t update their websites with videos of them serving Jesus. They didn’t take selfies of them helping Jesus. They didn’t send out text messages when they made a meal for Jesus. No email blast for cleaning up after Jesus.
They served Jesus in silence. They served without recognition for all those years. There was no keeping score of who did more. Who gave more. Who served more.
They certainly were “some women!”