In the Middle Eastern country where they live, Adrian and his family suffer persecution for their faith. Yet, through it all, they demonstrate Christ’s love. Standing in his church courtyard, which was pummeled by bullets when terrorists used it as training ground, he said, “Today is Good Friday. We remember that Jesus suffered for us on the cross.” And suffering, he continued, is something that believers in Jesus there understand. But his family chooses to remain in their homeland: “We’re still here, still standing.”
These believers follow the example of the women who stood watching as Jesus died on the cross (Mark 15:40). They—including Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and Salome—were brave to stay there, for friends and family members of an enemy of the state could be ridiculed and punished. Yet the women showed their love for Jesus by their very presence with Him. Even as they “followed him and cared for his needs” in Galilee (v. 41), they stood with Him at His hour of deepest need.
On this day when we remember the greatest gift of our Savior, His death on a cross, take a moment to consider how we can stand for Jesus as we face trials of many kinds (see James 2:2–4). Think too about our fellow believers around the world who suffer for their faith. As Adrian asked, “Can you please stand with us in your prayers?” Learn more about Christ’s death and resurrection from Moti Vaknin in Episode 6 of In Pursuit of Jesus below.
Who were the women who witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion? Among the “many” women there, Mark lists three by name: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome (Mark 15:40–41). Mary Magdalene was from the fishing village of Magdala and had been cured of seven evil spirits by Jesus (Luke 8:1–2). She was also one of the women set free from diseases and evil spirits who helped “to support [Jesus and His disciples] out of their own means” (v. 3; see also Mark 15:41). The other Mary is the mother of James and Joseph, which indicates that her sons were probably well known in the believing community. Salome was most likely the wife of Zebedee and mother of Jesus’ disciples James and John (see Matthew 27:56). The gospel of John states that three Marys witnessed the crucifixion: Jesus’ mother, His mother’s sister (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene (19:25).