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Mark - Who is Christ?
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to MARK
PART 8 - Christ's Passion and Death (Mark 14:1 - 15:47)

19. The Women Beneath the Cross (Mark 15:40-41)

MARK 15:40-41
40 There were also women watching from afar, among whom were both Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; 41 who, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and served him; and many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

There were many women of several classes who had followed Jesus on the long journey from Galilee to Jerusalem (Luke 8:2-3). Now, they resolved not to forsake him. His person, by the power of his Spirit, controlled his disciples, men and women, in holiness and reverence.

It is most probable that the disciples lived sometimes from the contributions of rich women who recognized that a great, divine power came from Jesus. Christ did not ask for money in return for his miracles of healing, nor did he gather treasures, but lived poor and content. These women had followed the disciples in Galilee at the time of persecution. They served and cared for these young disciples.

We do not know much about these women, except their names. The text in (Luke 8:2-3) indicates that some of them had experienced deliverance from demon possession at the command of Jesus.

Having not received the Holy Spirit yet, they feared that unclean spirits might dwell in them again to destroy them, particularly Mary Magdalene, who was formerly grievously afflicted by the presence of seven evil spirits, and was perfectly cured by Jesus. These faithful women sought the protection of the powerful Savior, and he did not prevent them from following him.

It is most probable that Salome was the mother of John and James, who had requested for her two sons seats of honor on Christ’s right hand and left in his kingdom. Now, she saw two robbers on Jesus’ right hand and left. She read the title “the King of the Jews”, and trembled at his modesty and humility.

Many other women followed Jesus faithfully, hoping that he would reveal his glory, and support those who were right in their struggle against injustice. Now, they saw him severely wounded. They heard the hammering of the nails, and listened to his words on the cross. However, they did not run away.

If they had not been courageous, they would have not exposed themselves to the danger of remaining near the cross. We do not know many details about the death of Jesus, but they became eyewitnesses and preachers.

Probably, the centurion allowed them to remain there, because he did not fear that they might take Jesus down from the cross, when they stood trembling and weeping on the hill of Golgotha, after the priests and elders had left the fearful place.

The great love those women had for the pure loving Saviour did not allow them to leave the horrible scene, even at the hour of death. They were thankful to him who had saved them from Satan. They prayed, wept, and listened to every word he said. The hot air dried their lips, and the darkness frightened them, but they stood fast, and stayed near the cross to the end.

The last glimpse of hope disappeared when Jesus uttered the shout of victory, bowed his head, and died. At the last moment, they expected the revelation of the triumphant Christ. Now, having seen the death of the Son of God, their minds were paralyzed, their hearts were broken, and they burst into tears, hiding their wailing for fear of the soldiers. The best of all men had died, and love was crucified. The power of God appeared weak, and the women stood frightened before an unanswerable, unsolvable mystery.

They did not recognize the meaning of Christ’s cross at that time, for the Holy Spirit had not yet been poured out on them.

PRAYER: O Father, we thank you because not only men make history, but women also render fundamental services at critical moments in your kingdom. The glory of your beloved Son drew them to serve him, and you guided them to be eye and ear witnesses of the truth of Jesus’ death that we might know his last words, and testify his death to those who deny it. Help many women and girls today to recognize the love and divine glory of Jesus that they may follow him and be saved by faith. Amen.


  1. What is the significance of the appearance of many women at the cross?


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