The Women Disciples Who
The ladies who sought and found
By Jon W. Quinn
Although Christ was a "man of sorrows" with no place to lay His head, He was not without friends who loved Him dearly. His lack of physical comforts had more to do with the nature of His work than anything else. He could have had anything His heart desired, and what His heart desired was our salvation, so He focused on that rather than physical comforts.
He was surrounded by His apostles, and as they worked, they were served and aided by certain women (Luke 8:1-3). This would seem necessary since these men gave up their professions to follow Christ. There are many references to the women who served Jesus. Most are not mentioned by name, but we know that there were many (Matthew 27:55,56). Let's consider the impact four of these ladies had on the work Jesus came to accomplish.
Mary was a favorite name among Hebrew women. This Mary was called "of Magdala" which was a small town near Tiberias on the southwest coast of the Sea of Galilee. She was possessed with 7 demons whom Jesus cast out (recall Luke 8:2). She became a devoted disciple and followed Christ to the crucifixion (Matt 27:54-56, see also Mark 15:40-41). She helped with the burial of Christ. She was the first person Christ appeared to after His resurrection; “Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, "I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.' Mary Magdalene came, announcing to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord," and that He had said these things to her. (John 20:17-18; see also Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 16:9).
There is no firm evidence to suggest that she was an immoral woman as tradition has taught. This belief comes from the fact that the first mention of her comes immediately after the story of the sinful woman who anointed Jesus' feet (Luke 7:36-50).
On the other hand, the Gnostic fiction that Jesus and Mary were married and had children has no Biblical evidence at all. The source of this story is second century false teachers without any credibility at all.
As Mary Magdalene was healed, we also have been healed. We can only guess how horrible her condition was before she met Jesus. Jesus set her free. But Jesus has freed us from the eternal consequences of our sins (Ephesians 2:1-7; John 10:10). We should also give our lives in service out of gratitude and love. There is no better way to show gratitude to Jesus than to follow Him (Romans 12:1,2; Hebrews 12:28).
Mary of Bethany
She was the sister of Martha and Lazarus (John 11:1). Mary sat at Jesus' feet and listened to His words. Martha was more worried about being a good hostess and thus Jesus commends the better choice that Mary made (Luke 10:38-42). Mary had a strong faith in her Lord. She knew of Jesus' power to raise men from the dead (John 11:1-57).
Shortly before Jesus' death, it was this Mary that washed Jesus' feet with a costly oil as if for His burial (John 12:1-8). In a parallel passage, Jesus commends her actions with these words: "She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. (Mark 14:8). What a wonderful commendation! “She has done what she could.” The Lord is always pleased with this level of commitment.
Her priorities seemed to be correct. We need to make sure our priorities are proper as well (Matthew. 6:33). We can spend our whole lives making sure our physical needs and wants are met, but in the end, only one thing is needed; to live by faith in God (Philippians 3:7-11).
Martha welcomed Christ into her house (Luke 10:38-42). She was "distracted with much serving". Jesus loved this family (John 11:5). Bethany may have been the place Jesus felt most at home while on this earth. Both Martha and Mary knew the power of Jesus. When their brother had died, both of them stated that if Jesus had arrived sooner, Lazarus would not have perished (John 11:21 and 32). But it was Martha who stated her confidence in the resurrection (John 11:24), and then confessed that Christ was the Son of God who had come to save the world. “She said to Him, 'Yes, Lord; I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God, even He who comes into the world.'" (John 11:27).
Christ should be a welcome guest in our homes and our lives. He will not be in one without the other, whether we are members of a church or not. (Revelation 3:14-21). Also, we must be confident of the resurrection (I Corinthians 15:12-19). It will be a very empowering daily source of strength and peace.
She was the wife of Zebedee and the mother of James and John. (Compare Matthew 27:56 with Mark 15:40 and 16:1). Zebedee and his family were of some means as evidenced by the hired servants for their fishing business (Mark 1:18-20).
Salome once asked that her sons be given places of honor in the kingdom (Matthew 20:20-22). This did not go over so well with the other apostles, of course. Salome did not understand the nature of the kingdom when she asked for positions of honor for her sons. But it is admirable that she wished for her sons to be with Christ. As parents, we need to understand what the kingdom of Jesus is truly all about and then we must train our children according to God's word so that they may be with Christ. And, just as Salome, we should desire to see our children as faithful servants of Christ. (Ephesians 6:4; Genesis 18:19; Psalm 78:1-8).
She was one of the women who accompanied Jesus in Galilee. She was present at the crucifixion, within visual range of the cross; “There were also some women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses, and Salome.” (Mark 15:40). She was also among those who went to Christ's tomb to anoint His body (Mark 16:1).
These ladies sacrificed much to support Jesus and His apostles in their mission. They were important and dignified women of great faith appreciated by Jesus for their efforts and commended by the Holy Spirit as He offers them to us as examples of faith. Even in the darkest hours, they were there. Our commitment to Jesus should be no less than theirs.
From The Bradley Banner 4/30/2006
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway