November 8

Text: Matthew 27:55, 56

And many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, 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)

It is amazing to note how powerfully emotions impact what we consider to be fact.  Perspective too often is determined more by our feelings than by insightful observation.  Perspective also is powerfully influenced by the situations of “now” rather than “then.”  The following is attempted only to observe, not to advocate a position.  Our challenge: see the obvious.

It is amazing that Matthew wrote about a group of women onlookers who were sympathetic to Jesus. He did not even mention the apostles as a group of onlookers.  Evidently groups who were sympathetic to Jesus were in short supply at Jesus’ crucifixion.

However, the mention of this group does provide a possible answer to a practical problem.  When Jesus toured with the apostles, there were (at least) thirteen men who needed care.  From experience I can testify that common needs do not vanish when a group travels.  Who washed the clothes?  Who cooked?  Who cared for everyday needs that arose?  At least in some times a group of women provided this necessary care.

That indicated at least sometimes Jesus’ traveling entourage was large.  It included (minimum) a group of male disciples that helped with teaching and crowd control, and a group of female disciples who assisted in caring for daily needs.

To have a group of women “ministering to him” as he came from Galilee to Judea would have been extremely unusual in the Jewish culture in that time.  If it would raise question marks today among many of the devout as an appropriate thing to do, be assured that such would raise more and bigger question marks then as the appropriate thing to do.

The more important question to be asked is, “What does this say about Jesus?”  The minimum it said about Jesus was this: he cared about people—righteous people and wicked people, poor people and rich people, male people and female people.  In a socially acceptable context?  Not always.  Was he always understood?  No.  Did criticism prevent him from showing he cared or accepting appreciation?  No. 

Social acceptability did not determine godly theology.  Society does not determine God’s thinking and concerns.  The priority God places on people is an enormous challenge to all Christians.

Suggestion for reflection: Does God look at people the way you look at people?  (Read Galatians 3:26-29.)

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