Matthew 27:55-56 – Many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee while ministering to Him, among whom was Mary Magdalene, along with Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. (NASB)
Standing at a distance from the cross, I found myself in a group of three women who were gazing at the man who was hanging there for His sin of blasphemy, as ordered by the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. The mob at His trial had insisted that He be put to death by crucifixion, an ancient method of painful execution.
The man on the cross was representing Jesus in an elaborate musical Easter presentation at our local performing arts theatre. My involvement was to depict one of His friends who had followed Him in His long journey from Galilee to Jerusalem (eighty to one hundred miles). As I stood there, literally weeping, I felt some of the deep emotion that the woman I portrayed must have felt seeing her friend being crucified.
The company of women boldly followed Jesus to the cross when the rest of His disciples had deserted Him. They identified with Him in His sufferings, having followed Him every step of the way out of their great love for Him and their desire to hear Him preach. Although they were prevented from ministering to Him now, they resolved not to forsake Him. Therefore, they followed Him — all the way. The women were important to Jesus, for at one point along the way, He found the time and compassion to recognize their tears: "Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children." (Luke 23:28 NASB) The Master was speaking of the coming destruction of Jerusalem.
Let us contemplate our past services and offerings for Christ. Do we have a strong, irresistible desire to faithfully preserve to the end our attention on Him? Have we followed Him so far and so long, done so much, and laid out so much for Him, only to forsake Him now? We need to be resolute in our service for Him, not with tears but with joy, knowing that through Christ's death and resurrection we have eternal life.
- I will glory in the cross, in the cross
Lest his suffering all be in vain
I will weep no more for the cross that He bore
I will glory in the cross
- – Dottie Rambo
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may we with the eye of faith behold Christ and Him crucified, and be affected with that great love with which You have loved us. May our tears be shed for those around us who have yet to come to faith in You. Help us to show the compassion of Christ toward those who need Your love today. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.