“And many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him” (Matthew 27:55).
The women who supported Jesus’ ministry all the way to the cross are fine examples of compassionate loyalty.
Caring, consistent loyalty is a wonderful characteristic of godly women. This trait is probably more evident in them than it is in godly men. The women by the cross were the main group of believing eyewitnesses to Jesus’ crucifixion. They also showed incredible loyalty in the face of ridicule and danger. This courage contrasted with the disciples who, except for John, had fled in fear the night before Jesus was crucified.
We saw in a lesson earlier this month that some of the women, including our Lord’s mother, had been watching the crucifixion from the foot of the cross (John 19:25-27). But in today’s verse the women are described as “looking on from a distance.” They had not suddenly become afraid of the Roman soldiers or the Jewish leaders. Neither had they become ashamed of being known as Jesus’ followers. They withdrew because their grief was deep and their hope shattered at the impending death of their Master. The women’s endurance, however, was undaunted.
Throughout His ministry, devoted women such as those at the cross ministered generously to Jesus and the disciples. Luke 8:2-3 says, “Mary who was called Magdalene . . . Joanna the wife of Chuza . . . Susanna, and many others . . . were contributing to their support out of their private means.” It is probable that most of the meals Jesus and the Twelve ate were prepared by faithful women.
The women who followed Jesus set the standard for faithful service and compassionate loyalty that Paul later outlined for godly women: “a reputation for good works . . . washed the saints’ feet . . . assisted those in distress, and . . . devoted herself to every good work” (1 Tim. 5:10). Such self-giving acts of practical service are marks of excellence and spiritual maturity that ought to be evident in the lives of all believers.
Suggestions for Prayer
Is there a Christian friend to whom you can affirm your loyalty? Pray for an opportunity to serve that person in a practical way.
For Further Study
Read John 13:3-17.
- How did Jesus demonstrate the theme of today’s study?
- What impact did Jesus’ example have on Peter?
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997.