Commentaries
English
Matthew
  
29. Witnesses for the Death of Christ
(Matthew 27:54-56)
54So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”55And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar,56among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons. (Luke8:2-3)


The Roman centurion knew that Jesus was crucified for the charge of blasphemy, deceiving the multitudes, and claiming that He was the King of the Jews and the Son of God. But what did this centurion experience during the hours he spent near the cross? He did not watch the death of a criminal, but of a great person. He heard Him twice calling God in His sincere prayer. He did not curse His enemies and those who crucified Him, nor did He get angry with those who mocked Him. Therefore, the centurion ultimately cried, “Truly this was the Son of God!” This heathen was the first to learn from the experiences of the cross that Jesus was the unique Son of God, and he confessed his faith in publicly.
This realization was echoed by the soldiers who cast lots for the garment of Jesus. In the beginning, they were affected by the eclipse of the sun and the violent earthquake. Now they were so impressed by the personality of the dead Redeemer that they repeated the confession of their commander, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
The Romans were not the only eyewitnesses to Jesus’ last words. There were also some women who came to the Crucified One with reverence and grief. They had followed Him all the way from Galilee and ministered to Him with their contributions, preparing food, washing the clothes, and keeping close to Him and His divine power in holiness and purity.
The women found it hard to accept that He who had triumphed over diseases and demons was hanging dead on the cross. However, some of the women were mindful witnesses of all the events that happened at the cross. Our knowledge of Christ’s seven statements from the cross, as well as the words spoken by the chief priests, the two robbers, and the soldiers, is based on the women’s testimony. These women were eyewitnesses to the death of Christ. Four of them are commonly known by name. By their testimony, it became clear that women also have an important role in the kingdom of heaven. Without them we would have not known these details about the death of the King of Kings.

Prayer
We thank You Lord Jesus Christ, because You opened the heart of the centurion so that he recognized and believed in Your divinity and confessed, as the first Gentile, that You are the Son of God. We thank You for the respected women who followed You from Galilee, ministered to You, and came close to Your cross so that we could know the details of the last hours of Your presence on the infamous and accursed cross. They also bore witness of Your words of love, faith, and hope in facing death. We rejoice in You and praise You for entrusting these women with the testimony of Your salvation completed for us.
Question
What was the role of the women at Christ’s crucifixion?