• Post comments:0 Comments

As Jesus’ life was marked by many notable signs and wonders in order that people might believe the gospel message He proclaimed and have life in His name (Joh 20:30-31), His death upon the cross was also attended by many supernatural events: the darkness that came over the land, the great cry He let out as He gave up His Spirit, the tearing of the temple veil, the earthquake, splitting of rocks, opening of tombs, and raising from the dead the bodies of many saints who had died, as well as the unexplained changes that were happening in the hearts of all those who “came together for this spectacle” (Luk 23:48).  As in life His teaching was like a winnowing fork that sifted the wheat from the chaff (Mat 3:12), so too as His life-blood was poured out upon the cross the Spirit of His life that was poured out with it softened from stone the hearts of some whom none would have imagined—one of the thieves upon the cross, and the Roman soldiers who had carried out His execution; cf. Eze 36:26.  But at the same time it hardened all the more the hearts of others who would not receive His Spirit.  For it was because the religious leaders could not tolerate Jesus’ Spirit filling their temple that they pressed Pilate to condemn Him, even though he knew he was innocent and wanted to release Him, and then followed Him to the cross to mock Him as He died; Mat 21:13, 23:38, 26:3-5, 27:41-43.  Even after His resurrection when many others, including many priests (Act 6:7), were repenting and believing the gospel, their hardened hearts were doubling down and continuing to persecute His followers; Mat 28:11-13, Act 2:36-38,42, 4:5-21, 5:17-18,27-28,40, 9:1-2,14, 22:4-5, 26:12.  We most often think of serving God in our life and glorifying Him with a life well-lived; have we given as much thought and are we as willing to glorify Him in our death, with a death well-died in His service that may, like Christ’s, have as much impact for God’s kingdom as did our life?  Cf. Jdg 16:30.

Besides the Roman soldiers, who else does Matthew say was there to witness Jesus’ death?  See Mat 27:55-56.  What does Matthew say was significant about these women and their relationship to Jesus?  How far from Galilee was it to Jerusalem, especially on foot?  As self-proclaimed followers of Jesus ourselves, are we as willing to follow Him in His service great distances wherever He goes, even to the cross?  In what way would they have ministered to Him?  Note that the word used is διακονέω from which we get our word deacon, and refers to serving others in the provision of life’s necessities, especially food and its preparations; see Luk 4:39 (NAS waited on them), Luk 8:3 (NAS contributing to their support), Luk 10:40, 12:37, 17:8, Joh 12:2; cf. Mat 25:44, Act 19:22, Act 6:2, Phm 1:13.  What does this remind us about ministry being not just about ministering to people’s spiritual needs but also to their physical needs, and that in their traditional role of cooking and cleaning and serving others women are just as much ministers as men?  What does it also remind us about the nature of man being not just spiritual, but physical, and not just physical, but spiritual?

Besides these women, who else does Luke note also accompanied Him from Galilee that were there when He died?  See Luk 23:49.  Are we to understand His acquaintances to include His disciples?  Note that the word means literally those known to Him and seems to be used in contrast to His disciples and immediate family with whom He had a more intimate relationship; cf. Luk 2:44 for a similar usage.  See also Mar 15:41 which may indicate that these acquaintances looking on were primarily women, not men.

What do all three synoptic gospels note about where these women and His acquaintances were standing as they watched Him die?  See Mat 27:55, Mar 15:40, Luk 23:49.  Who alone of all His disciples is mentioned in the gospels as being at Jesus’ crucifixion?  See Joh 19:26,35.  Why would His disciples have been absent and even those from Galilee who just casually knew Him have been keeping their distance?  Cf. Joh 20:19.  What does the great fear for their lives that these felt remind us is the very reaction that the religious leaders sought to provoke by targeting Jesus in order to squash from them any potential threats to the status quo of their own rule?  Cf. Joh 18:19.  How is that like worldly leaders throughout history who have always used such fear tactics to sustain their rule?  What then do we also understand about the power of the gospel to overcome the rulers of the kingdoms of this world and their prince precisely because Jesus overcame death so that as citizens of His kingdom we need not fear for our lives knowing that God is able to raise us up from the dead?  Cf. Mat 10:28-31, Jos 1:9.

Leave a Reply