Matthew 27:55

Many women (gunaike pollai). We have come to expect the women from Galilee to be faithful, last at the Cross and first at the tomb. Luke ( Luke 23:49 ) says that "all his acquaintance" (pante oi gnwstoi autwi) stood at a distance and saw the end. One may hope that the apostles were in that sad group. But certainly many women were there. The Mother of Jesus had been taken away from the side of the Cross by the Beloved Disciple to his own home ( John 19:27 ). Matthew names three of the group by name. Mary Magdalene is mentioned as a well-known person though not previously named in Matthew's Gospel. Certainly she is not the sinful woman of Luke 7:1 ff. nor Mary of Bethany. There is another Mary, the mother of James and Joseph (Joses) not otherwise known to us. And then there is the mother of the sons of Zebedee (James and John), usually identified with Salome ( Mark 15:40 ). These noble and faithful women were "beholding from afar" (apo makroqen qewrousai). These three women may have drawn nearer to the Cross for Mary the Mother of Jesus stood beside the Cross (para twi staurwi) with Mary of Clopas and Mary Magdalene ( John 19:25 ) before she left. They had once ministered unto Jesus (diakonousai autwi) and now he is dead. Matthew does not try to picture the anguish of heart of these noble women nor does he say as Luke ( Luke 23:48 ) does that "they returned smiting their breasts." He drops the curtain on that saddest of all tragedies as the loyal band stood and looked at the dead Christ on Golgotha. What hope did life now hold for them?