Rejoicing Women - Seventh and final in a series
Many women lined the Via Dolorosa as Christ went to Calvary. They wept loudly and expressed their grief in words. Christ comforted them:
Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry? (Luke 23:28-30)
Jesus was about to be crucified, yet it was a time of green trees, a time in the world for fulness of joy, when the flowers appear on the earth… the vines with tender grape give a good smell. (Song 2:12, 13)
But the evil was palpable. Christ understood that the hour belonged to Satan so the loyalty of these women was precious to him. Some had also accompanied and supported him and his disciples as they traveled throughout every city and village, sharing the good news (Luke 8:1-3).
A passage in Daniel is interpreted by some to mean that the antichrist will not have any Christian sympathies: Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god (Dan 11:37). They translate this verse as "the God desired by women," who would be Jesus. The basis for this rendering is the use of the same word for "desire" in Haggai 2, And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come… (Hag 2:7)
Jesus was and is the desired God of women. His gracious kindness to all of us is made clear in the Word, highlighted by his special care for certain ones, such as Mary Magdalene who was delivered of seven demons. No wonder they followed him to Golgotha (John 19:17, 18) and then to his tomb.
Those specially called out in various Gospels as faithful in his final hour are: his mother; Mary, the wife of Cleophas who perhaps was the mother of James ("the less"); Salome, the mother of James and John; Joanna; and Mary Magdalene who was most prominent for persistence and devotion. Some have confused her with the sinful woman of Luke 7 who anointed the feet of Jesus with ointment and washed them with her tears and hair. (Luke 7:37-39) However, that was a different woman.
Mary's seven demons were not described; whatever sins they locked into her, she had been freed and held to that freedom by wholehearted devotion to the Lord. That seven were numbered may indicate she had been earnest to seek deliverance from a satanic stronghold; but the evil spirit that departed once then found reinforcements and regained her mind and soul, as explained in Matthew 12. From such embattlement and despair there is no deliverance but by Christ himself. (Mat 12:43-45)
Mary Magdalene was at the crucifixion (Mat 27:55, 56), went to his tomb after his death (Mark 15:47), returned there on the first day of the week with spices to anoint him (Mar 16:1), and is celebrated as the one to whom Christ first appeared. (Mark 16:9)
As she alone sat by his tomb weeping, he came to her and she recognized him when he said her name. (John 20:11-18) She then ran to tell the disciples, "I have seen the Lord!"
In all of Scripture, she probably is our best example of a rejoicing woman.
Perhaps Christ appeared specially to her because he understood the depth of her former agony. Now, there is never any evil that can overcome us if we trust in Christ and cling to him, for he has led captivity captive (Eph 4:8; John 20:17). Rejoice!