What did Jesus’ disciples think when Jesus shouted, “‘IT IS FINISHED,’” and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”? Was this the end? Did they follow Jesus in vain? Both men and women devoted their lives to following Jesus. In Part I, we saw that women followed Jesus, as did men. The women ministered to Jesus and His men disciples in sacrificial ways. The women disciples were both faithful and generous servants and devoted and courageous followers of Jesus.
“Soon afterwards He [Jesus] went on through the cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve [men disciples] were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Suzanna, and many others, who provided for them [or Him] out of their means” [Luke 8:1-3].
The women not only followed Jesus during His ministry on earth. We discovered in Part II that there are many Gospel passages mentioning Jesus’ women disciples witnessing His death on the cross. Mary Magdalene is mentioned throughout these Gospel passages, along with the other women who followed Jesus to His crucifixion. [Matthew 27:56-61; 28:1; Mark 15:40-47; 16:1-19; Luke 8:1-3; 24:1-12; John 19:25; 20:1-18].
In the above Scripture references, we find Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross, along with Mary the mother of James and Joseph, the mother of the sons of Zebedee, Mary the mother of Jose, Salome, Mary the mother of Jesus and His mother’s sister [just to name a few]. These women followed Jesus to a hill called Calvary, also known as Golgotha or “Place of the Skull,” where He was nailed to the cross and hung on that cross dying. Most of the men disciples were hiding, except for Peter and John, “the disciple whom [Jesus] loved” [John 18:15-18, 25-26 and 19:25-27].
After three long hours nailed to the cross, Jesus exclaimed, “IT IS FINISHED!” and then He beathe His last.. What was next? The disciples would later learn what “IT IS FINISHED” really meant. First, they needed to take care of Jesus’ body.
“When evening came, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. Mary Mgdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb” [Matthew 27:57-61].
Mark identifies the other Mary as “Mary the mother of Joses” [15:47]. Luke thought it was important to record, “The women who had come with Him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how the body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested, according to the commandment” [23:55-56]. John adds, “Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight” [19:39].
These disciples, both men and women, wanted to make sure the body of Jesus was laid to rest properly. The women made sure they knew where Jesus’ body was laid, so they would be able to go back after the Sabbath rest, to anoint the body with more spices. I believe they thought it would be the final time they would be able to minister to their Lord. Because the women wanted to minister to Jesus’ body for the last time, not with food but with spices, they were the first disciples to learn what Jesus meant when he said “IT IS FINISHED!”
Many times when we go to minister to others, we are also blessed.
To be continued…