There were women watching from a distance, among them Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and Joses, and Salome. When Jesus was in Galilee, these women followed and served him, and had come up with him to Jerusalem. Mark 15:40-41 MSG
“Watching from a distance.”
Not weeping, not speaking. Watching . . . as Jesus, whom they had faithfully served and cared for, was brutally crucified on the cross.
These women were not watching in the sense of watching a TV show or a sporting event. The word “watching” in Greek is the word theoreo, which means to be a spectator of, to discern, to literally or figuratively experience, or intensively acknowledge. They watched with discernment.
They watched intensely. They watched as one who tries to enter into the experience of another.
Despite the horrific suffering they witnessed, so intense was their love and devotion, they could not turn their eyes away from Jesus.
But how could they watch? It had to be the most violent and horrific death ever witnessed.
Mary Magdalene watched, and couldn’t leave Jesus even after He was laid in the tomb. She had seen Him perform miracles, and received one herself when He had cast seven demons out of her. Imagine the torment she must have suffered until the day He set her free. So filled with love and gratitude, she was compelled to follow Him and serve Him wherever that would lead . . . even to the cross.
Despite how painful and traumatic it was to watch, she had to be there.
Have you ever had to witness someone you love suffer?
I remember sitting in the Emergency Room with my ten-year-old daughter watching and wincing as the doctor put five stitches in the tender fingertip she had almost sliced off with a pair of scissors. I remember holding my mother-in-law during an extremely painful test as she battled cancer.
It was excruciating for me. People I loved were hurting. But . . . I had to be there.
In the most painful experiences of their lives they needed to be surrounded by love, and I needed to be there.
Love compelled Mary and the other women to endure witnessing Jesus’ suffering on the cross. They couldn’t leave—even as He suffered and died before their eyes. While others forsook Him, and multitudes of people cried “Crucify him!” the women remained faithful.
“To their everlasting honour, these women evidenced more courage, and affectionate attachment to their Lord and Master, than the disciples did, who had promised to die with him rather than forsake him.” (Adam Clark commentary)
I want to be a woman like that. A woman who will be there, eyes fixed on Jesus…no matter what.
A woman who will watch.
I invite you to watch and pray with me today:
I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! Philippians 3:10-11 NLT
Thank you Jesus. You paid the price for a debt you didn’t owe. One we can never repay with words, though you will forever own our hearts.