Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” There were also some women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem. (Mark 15: 39-41)
Mark gives this description of the people who remain with Jesus up to the moment he dies. The disciples who have been so devoted to Jesus are nowhere to be seen, having run in any direction that offers safety from the people who crucify Jesus. In fact, Peter has denied three times that he even knows Jesus. The disciples leave Jesus before they can see that even an unbeliever like the centurion who is guarding him admits that this person must be more than a mere man.
The disciples, in their humanness, have left Jesus to die in fear of their own lives, and any of us who have ever felt that we were in grave danger have to understand their fear. It is interesting to note who remains with Jesus, though. According to Mark, the women aren’t really doing anything; there is no description other than who they are and the fact that they are still there. However, Mark describes how these many women who have ministered to Jesus remain with him in the most difficult moment of his life on Earth. Occasionally, as in this passage, we get a glimpse of the women who play a very important part in the life of Jesus. All of us need people to minister to us when we’re not up to the task of dealing with the world. How wonderful to know that there were women who provided for Jesus when he might have been feeling more human than divine!
Wondering: If Jesus were among us today, what stories would he be able to tell us about the women in his ministry that are so often omitted in the Gospels?