Holy Week Day 1: The Women Around the Cross

Scripture Reading: Mark 15:40-41 (NIV)

40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome.41 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.

Throughout the gospels, there is only brief mention of the women who followed Jesus before the passion story. But the significance of these women who sought after Christ at the time of his crucifixion must awaken us to a tough truth about the disciples – where were they when Jesus was being persecuted? It is rather the least mentioned characters of the gospels such as Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:2), Mary the mother of James the lesser and Joseph (Matt 27:56) and Salome the mother of James the greater and John (Matt 20:20, 21, 27:56), that are found to be with Jesus in his darkest hours according to Mark. The other disciples, had deserted Christ (Mark 14:51).

One could assume that the disciples who were recorded most often to be following Jesus throughout his ministry, that they would be the ones to follow him even unto his death, and even to their own. But the reality in the scriptures tells us otherwise. In contrast the women knew who Jesus was, and they loved him enough to follow him, even if they were implicated to be amongst his company. The women who gathered around Jesus at his crucifixion were the same women who would be the first to realize his resurrection. They remained faithful, even through grief and mourning. The men were nowhere to be seen, except that of the mysterious disciple whom some scholars believe to be John.

When difficult times come to us, when death or persecution is looming over our shoulders, do we cling to God or do we find ourselves quick to deny the Lord, or brush him off to the side? We can often look to our own fleshly measures to remedy our issues, our problems, and especially our sin.

It is an illusion and mistruth that we often think that to have faith, leads to a painless life. But rather the experiences of faith come through both good times, and especially the worst of times. Faith in the Lord is what carries us through pain, even though the reality is that it still hurts in the process. Faith points us in the direction of Hope.

Our Spiritual Challenge today:

Are there difficult situations in your life today? Are there dilemmas or choices that we need to make that challenge our integrity and our faithfulness to the Lord?

May you choose the Lord even when the odds are against you. Cling to the Lord and put your faith in His promises, even when it does not seem practical or favorable to do so. Just as Christ was revealed in his resurrection to these women, he will also reveal his good and perfect will for your life as we continue to follow and trust in Him.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. -Proverbs 3:5-6


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