Today's verses are Mark 15:40,41: "There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and Joses, and Salome.  When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also other women who came up with him to Jerusalem." After all the disciples had run away in fear, faithful women continued to follow Jesus.  They watched his death on the cross from a distance.  Mark actually names them: Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and Joses and Salome.

It's fascinating throughout Mark how often he names witnesses to different events in Jesus' life.  Since his gospel account was within thirty years of Jesus' life, death and resurrection, it's as if Mark is saying, "Here are their names.  If you don't believe my story, go talk to them! They will verify it!"  Surely many of these eye witnesses were still living thirty years later.  Surely they were available to give verification to Mark's words if ever asked.

But there is something much more important going on here.  There were a group of wealthy women, some probably widows, who followed Jesus and supported his ministry financially (see Luke 8:1-3).  They were very important to him.  Moreover, while in Galilee, some of these women actually "ministered" to him.  They served him.  They took care of him.  They fed him.  Perhaps they washed his clothes, maybe even prayed for him during those long days when he ministered to others.  What a privilege it must have been for them to minister to the One they concluded was the Messiah, the King of all other kings!

Also, these women listed here become the eyewitnesses of the resurrection.  Two of them were the first to approach the empty tomb.  They were the first to realize Jesus was alive!  They were the first to tell the Easter message to the other disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead (see Mark 16:1).

It's undeniable the importance of women to Jesus.  In his day and culture, they were often thought to be second class citizens.  Their testimony in a court of law was useless. They had few rights.

Yet here, in his life, death and resurrection, they are front and center.  They are of extraordinary importance. They had "ministered" to him in his earthly life and ministry.  Now, they are loyal to the end.  Indeed, in God's court of law, their testimony is the first and most important one to his victory over sin and death.  It's as if Jesus is saying to the world, "Women are equal citizens in the kingdom of God!  They are essential to my Father's business!  I've elevated them to importance in my new kingdom on earth!"

Women are equal, cherished people in the Father's sight. They are very important to his call and work.

I think Jesus wants all of us, men and women, to know this kingdom reality.