Reading: Mark 15-16
Summary: Jesus is arrested, tried, crucified and raised from the dead.
This Gospel ends with a text that is somewhat controversial. Mark 16:9-20 is not found in some of the earliest manuscripts and some indication of that fact is given in many translations. For instance, in the English Standard Version, there is a break in the body of the text with this notation in brackets: “Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9-20.” Nothing about what we believe or practice is dependent on these verses. Everything taught in them is also taught in many other passages of Scripture. From that standpoint the question of whether or not these verses were originally in Mark’s Gospel is immaterial.
When Jesus chose twelve disciples for a very special relationship with Him and to be trained for a very special task—we call them apostles—He chose twelve men.
When the multitudes Jesus fed were numbered, the men were counted. Much more so than today, the culture and climate of the first-century middle east was a “man’s world.”
Yet, in Jesus darkest, painful, and lonely hour none of His men were there. The apostles had run in fear at the time of His arrest. John and Peter dared come around during the trial and John does make an appearance at the crucifixion (John 12:26), but otherwise, they are hiding in fear.
But not the women. They were there.
“There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem” (Mark 15:40-41).
The men were hiding; the women were there.
Say what we will about the biblical principle of male spiritual leadership; wrestle as we might about appropriate roles for women in the church. The fact remains that the Bible clearly acknowledges the steadfast faithfulness of women. As we work to reflect the Bible’s teaching about women’s place in our faith and practice, may we also be sure to reflect the Bible admiration and respect for their praiseworthy courage and faith.