Daily Word

Where were the men? | Matthew 27:55-56

55 And many women were there watching from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee while caring for Him. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Matthew 27:55-56 (NASB) 中文

On the cross

Jesus is hanging on the cross. He’s suffering physically and emotionally, but most, suffering the worst – spiritually – as the Father has to reject Him. Some amazing miracles happen to prove He is the Son of God and, amazingly, it seems the Roman soldiers watching over him come to this conclusion also. Meanwhile…

Woman watching

Many women are watching this horrific event from afar. They know Jesus. Matthew tells us they have been following Jesus when He started His ministry in Galilee. They have been caring for Him. How have they been caring for Him we aren’t told. Maybe they were cooking? They possibly were helping get supplies. The series, The Chosen, portrays some of the activities of the women.

Three noteworthy

Three of the women are selected by Matthew to be highlighted. In addition to his list, we also know from John’s eyewitness account that Jesus’ mother Mary was also there (John 19:26-27). 

  • Mary Magdalene. She was the woman who had seven demons that Jesus cast out (Luke 8:2). She was also one of the first to see Jesus after He rose from the dead (John 20:11-18). Any other connections are conjecture
  • Mary the mother of James (the younger of two James’) and Joseph. Like Mary of Magdalene, she also was a witness to Jesus’ resurrection (Mark 15:47, 16:1 and Matthew 28:1).
  • “Salome was the wife of Zebedee (Matthew 27:56), the mother of the disciples James and John, and a female follower of Jesus. This Salome was the one who came to Jesus with the request that her sons sit in places of honor in the kingdom (Matthew 20:20–21).” (gotquestions.org)

Where were the men?

A natural question when we read this is, “Where were the men?” As noted above, John’s account states that he was there. But where are the rest? Last we know of any of them (including Matthew the author of this gospel) was in the Garden of Gethsemane when they all fled out of fear. We know Judas later hanged himself and Peter followed Jesus to the trial where he denied Jesus.

My guess is they were too afraid for their own lives. It is certainly natural. But it’s worthwhile stressing that this is before the coming of and filling of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. It was then that the disciples received supernatural power and courage to face trials and, for all but John, a martyr’s death.


  • Though this passage is not about the filling of the Holy Spirit, it certainly presents a wonderful opportunity to point out the change that occurs in a believer when they are born again. They are filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4, 13:52, Romans 8:14). This gives disciples courage, strength, power (over sin, temptation and the enemy), gifts to build up the body of Christ, etc. Remember, if you are a follower of Christ, you have the Spirit. Call on the Spirit in you. Walk in the spirit (Galatians 5:16-18).
Orthodox Jewish women. Image from www.timesofisrael.com *

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