On Thursday afternoon of Passion Week, about the ninth hour, or three o’clock by our understanding, Jesus gave up His Spirit and expired upon the cross.  It was the preparation day for the Passover as observed by the religious leaders in Jerusalem, so the Passover lambs that were being sacrificed in the temple to remember how the Lord had delivered the Jewish nation from its bondage in Egypt at the same time testified of the much greater deliverance from the bondage to sin that Jesus was accomplishing as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  Jesus’ own disciples had celebrated the Passover the night before, reckoning the fourteenth of the month on which it was to take place a day earlier because of the sometimes ambiguous nature of sighting the new moon.  While all His flock of disciples except John had scattered from fear for their own lives as He was struck, a sizeable number of women who had followed Him from Galilee for the feast ministering to His material needs were looking on from a distance.  They, along with His other acquaintances, were fearful for their own lives due to their association with One who had now been crucified as a malefactor.  And yet, although they were fearful then of joining Him as a warning to others of the Roman fasces, after Jesus’ resurrection and the gospel hope of eternal life from the dead became known, their fear of death would disappear.  And it was because they no longer feared death that they would overcome the kingdoms of men and spread the kingdom of God throughout the whole world like an invading army to turn the world upside down.  Has the gospel so touched our own lives that we are as fearless of death and committed to overcoming the unrighteous rule of Satan’s kingdoms of the world by furthering God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven?

Who does Matthew identify as three of the women looking on from a distance as Jesus died?  See Mat 27:56.  Who does Mark, whose account closely parallels Matthews, name as these same three women?  See Mar 15:40.  Comparing the two accounts, what should we understand was the name of the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee (Mat 4:21)?  What three women does John record as earlier being near the cross of Jesus with His mother?  See Joh 19:25.  As Mary Magdalene is clearly the same person, and Mary the wife of Clopas is most likely the same as Mary the mother of James and Joses / Joseph, who might we be led to believe was Mary’s sister?  Why does it make sense that the mother of James and John could easily have been Jesus’ aunt?  See Mat 20:20-21 and consider that after being rejected at Nazareth it makes sense that He would go to Capernaum where He had extended family to stay with; see Luk 4:16-31.  Consider too that John never names himself in his gospel (referring to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved), so it is not surprising that neither would he name his mother, but refer to her simply as “His mother’s sister”.  Also note that as Jesus’ own brothers did not come to believe in Him until after His resurrection, it makes good sense that He would entrust the care of His mother to His closest disciple who was also a close relative, whose own mother was His mother’s sister.

Of the four women found earlier near the cross (Jesus’ mother Mary, Mary’s sister Salome, Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary), who is notably absent looking on from a distance as Jesus died?  Why might that have been?  Why would Mary’s sister Salome have stayed to see what happened even after Mary had left the scene not wanting to see her son die?  Who of the three women standing at a distance as Jesus died are noted as remaining until the very end, about three hours later, to see what they did with His body?  See Mat 27:61.  Why does it make sense that Salome would have left after Jesus died to go to her sister Mary?  Although the different accounts of Jesus’ death may appear at first to contradict each other, how do these details reported separately on the one hand demonstrate that the gospel writers did not conspire together to give a singular account, and on the other hand provide a cohesive account that makes perfect sense in light of human nature?

What two events does John note about himself at the cross as he wrote near the end of his life long after the other gospels had been written, that we would not otherwise have known about?  See Joh 19:26-27,34-37 and note that this is the only record of any of Jesus’ disciples being at His crucifixion; the others due to their association with Him were no doubt afraid for their own lives supposing the authorities would be looking for them especially at His crucifixion lest they try to rescue Him.  Consider then that John, who had also the night before followed Jesus from Gethsemane into the court of the high priest in spite of his known relationship to Jesus (Joh 18:16-17), was arguably the least of the disciples to try and save his life, and yet was also the disciple who lived the longest and the only one who didn’t die as a martyr; what does this remind us about the truth of Luk 17:33?  How does this also help us to better understand why of all the disciples John is noted as the one very closest to Jesus whom He loved?  Are we as willing to lay down our own lives in order to have an extra-close relationship to Jesus?  In addition to John, what woman is noted prominently as similarly sticking close to Him even in His death?  See Mat 27:56,61, 28:1, Joh 19:25, 20:1.  What was the basis of her great love for Jesus?  See Luk 8:2 and cf. Luk 7:47.  Do we understand what the Lord has delivered us from so that our love might be as great?