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Daily Reading: 8th February 2016

John 19. 25-27

25 Now by the cross of Jesus stood His mother and His mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene.

26 Then Jesus, seeing His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing there, said (says) to her: “Woman, look here is your son”. 

27 Next He said (says) to the disciple: “Look, your mother”. And from that hour that disciple took her into his own home. 

John tells us that there were four women at the cross to witness the cruel death of Jesus.

It was a courageous thing for them to be present at the crucifixion. They would have been known as sympathizers of Jesus; it may have been known that they probably supported His ministry in various ways. Therefore, they would have been identified with Him. The consequences of which could have meant their own arrest, imprisonment, or even death.

This was the reason that only one of the disciples was in attendance (John).

Therefore, it was a brave thing that the woman did, although there are those who suggest they were in no danger, since women were so despised in those days and their presence would not have been regarded as being meaningful. This is a suggestion that is very disrespectful of women in the New Testament, and does not command any real consideration.

Just as these four women put their own lives at risk by being at the execution of Jesus so there will be times when it is the women of the church of Jesus who stand out with bravery.

In 177 AD there was a slave girl called Blandina who lived at Lyons, who was a follower of Jesus. She, along with other Christians, was arrested and sentenced to death. She was not a Roman citizen (they were beheaded), therefore, she had to endure terrible torture because her answer to every question was: I am a Christian, and we commit no wrong doing.”

Eusebius (a church historian from the 4th century) states that she was tied to the stake and wild beasts were set upon her, although she was not burned. She endured this for a number of days, after which she was taken into the arena, where she witnessed the torture and death of many of her fellow believers. Finally, she was scourged (whipped with a multi thronged whip), then placed on a red-hot grate. Then she was placed in a net and thrown to a wild bull who tossed her up into the air with his horns. She bravely endured all this before being killed with a dagger.

Throughout the history of the church many of the martyrs have been women, bravely suffering for the name of Jesus, and still it is the same today.

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