EBible Fellowship Sunday Bible Study – 23-Mar-2008


by John McOwen


This Easter season is another time for us to peek into the many details that are in the Bible surrounding not only the Passion of Jesus Christ leading up to the Crucifixion on Friday, Good Friday we call it, but also the events that followed the cross and Christ’s death that led into the rest on Saturday, and then the Resurrection on Easter Sunday morning. 

But my particular intrigue over the last two weeks in studying this topic was particularly, and it had to do with the reason that I was in the Bible.   My particular readings this last couple of weeks have been in the Gospels, Matthew and Mark in particular, so I read this account twice, and then I went to Luke, and I jumped ahead of my normal reading and I read it again in Luke, and said, well, this has to be here for a reason, so I am going to tell you what that is. 

There is going to be one particular issue we are going to look at that most of the details are around Good Friday and the Crucifixion, but some follow into Sunday morning, Easter Sunday.  And in particular, it is going to be one word that is used in the Bible, and many different accounts we are going to read have it in there, and it is about the women, the women that followed Jesus Christ from Galilee. 

It is Strong’s #1135 in the Greek, and it is translated as either women or wife, in the New Testament, it is both, it is just as many times each way.  There are a lot of translations in the New Testament of this word, Strong’s #1135, but in particular we are going to read the accounts where it has to do and it is translated as women, and we are going to try to understand the spiritual meaning of the fact that there were women from Galilee who followed Jesus Christ down to Jerusalem and ultimately witnessed His Crucifixion, and were there to also witness his resurrection. 

So the first account is in Matthew 27, so I am going to break right into it in verse 50 in Matthew 27.  And in verse 50 we read:

Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

So we see here it is Good Friday, and it is around 3:00 in the afternoon when Christ has died on the cross.  And down in verses 55-56 we read:

And many women…

There is our word, Strong’s #1135 that we are going to focus on today.

And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee…

So I want you to take note also of the fact they were from Galilee.

…ministering unto him: Among which…

So in other words there were a lot of women there, among which a few are named:

Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.

So two things to note:

1. The word women, and there were many of them.

2. They came from Galilee.  They had followed Jesus from Galilee, and they ministered unto Jesus as He came into Jerusalem at this particular time in juncture.

Well, let us pickup the same account and see why I was intrigued with that phrase.  In Mark 15:39, and again we are going to break into the account because we are going to read it in three different Gospels.  Mark 15:39, there we read:

And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.

So once again we are just taking another look at a different Gospel account of Good Friday and the Crucifixion of Christ and His death right around 3:00 that afternoon.  Now verse 40:

There were also women looking on afar off: among whom…

Once again, there we see among whom.  So there were women, notice only a few are going to be named.  It is not just that there were a couple women, but there were many women we saw in the other account in Matthew:

…among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; (Who also, when he was in Galilee…

So there we see from Galilee again.

…followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.

So once again we are focusing on Strong’s #1135 which is translated once again women here, and they are from Galilee.  So we want to focus in on that particular issue, and study this, and understand it spiritually, and that is the whole key.  The goal of this study is to understand spiritually why this account is reiterated three times in three Gospels, and what does it mean. 

Well the third and final account we are going to look at is in Luke 23.  How is it worded there in Luke 23:46-49?  It says there:

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man. And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned. And all his acquaintance, and the women…

There is our Strong’s #1135 in the Greek, again.

…that followed him…


…from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.

So let us take a look, once again we have in verse 49 His acquaintance was there.

…and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.

So they are witnesses to His Crucifixion.  Now, jump over to verses 55-56, same chapter and we pickup again these women, the same Strong’s #1135:

And the women also, which came with him from Galilee…

So again it is reiterated over and over again these women are from Galilee.

…followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

So they came from that Friday afternoon around 3:00 when Jesus died.  Remember, Joseph of Arimathaea had begged the body of Jesus from Pilate?  So between 3:00 and the evening, the ladies here, these women from Galilee returned to where they were lodging, and they prepared spices and ointments.  Then they rested on Saturday, from Friday evening, through Saturday, and we will pickup later the account when they came to the tomb on Sunday morning, and that starts in Luke 24. 

So let me pause here, and from the preface that we have looked at, we are looking at the word women, these many women that followed Jesus from Galilee, and they were witnesses to His Crucifixion.  Interestingly enough in the Bible here, I noted a couple of things that are of import.   It does not talk about men, why?  Why were not men there? What happened to the Apostles?  What had they done?  They scattered.  All right, so interestingly enough we see that these women from Galilee had followed Him, and unlike any other type of a king, because remember earlier, the previous weekend on Sunday, we call it Palm Sunday, Christ came into Jerusalem triumphant on the donkey, and they were laying palm branches before Him, saying, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.

So here was this King, but these women were no harem like a king normally has, we know that.  So why does the Bible talk about these women?   Why is it noted?  It is very interesting, and I think God is trying to, I believe, He is attempting to teach a spiritual lesson here.  And that is the whole goal of the study, is to understand it.  Why is it mentioned three times very similarly, many women followed Jesus from Galilee and they witnessed His Crucifixion. 

Let us see if we can develop it.  The first place we are going to look is the word Galilee the fact that they were from Galilee, they knew Christ from Galilee.  They came from Galilee to this Passover and to Jerusalem with Jesus Christ and witnessed His Crucifixion and Resurrection. 

Let us go to Acts 13:28, we are going to try to understand Galilee a little bit more here.  Acts 13:28-31:

And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. But God raised him from the dead: And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem…

Remember the women were the ones mentioned in Matthew, Mark and Luke.

…who are his witnesses unto the people.

So I want you to focus in on what it says about these people.  Now here, it is not mentioning women, it says of them which came up with him from Galilee.  He was seen many days of them.  But what are they?  These people who came from Galilee are his witnesses, as we see here in the post Pentecost account.  So these women from Galilee are typified here now as witnesses.  So I think immediately we get the sense that the people that came from Galilee had a particular closeness to Jesus Christ, and they were such so that they were now his witnesses to others. 

Now, in this account here, it insinuates that there are men included.  But again, interestingly enough the males are left out, it is just them.  But in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it says, women, many women from Galilee came and followed Jesus.  I think that to further develop the thesis here that this Galilee represents those who are his witnesses, those who were very close to Him, and we are going to see how close shortly. 

Let us go to the very first miracle that Jesus did, and interestingly enough it was in the land of Cana of Galilee.  So let us go to John 2, and see if there is more meaning in this then perhaps I once thought, maybe you already know this, but we will see.  John 2, I am going to read the first eleven verses, they are short, so stick with me, it is very important, and as we go through each verse, I am going to mention a couple of sidebars.  Verse 1:

And the third day…

So immediately, my antenna goes up, the third day, what does it remind me of?  The Resurrection.  You can either stay there and let me read it, or if you want to follow me, Luke 24:7, because remember, these women in Luke 23 followed Him, they witnessed His Crucifixion, they went and prepared spices Friday night, they rested Saturday, they came very early to the tomb.  Luke 24 talks about the first of the Sabbaths, very early in the morning they came, and it was they, the women from verse 55 of the previous chapter, they came, and in verse 7 of Luke 24, remember here the angels had said to them, He is not here but is risen.

Verse 7:

Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

I just wanted to tie that together, the third day rise again, and here they were, Sunday morning, Easter Sunday. 

So let us go back to that miracle in Cana of Galilee, the third day, I just wanted you to notice that relationship.  Now verse 1:

And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee…

Now again I want to focus on the word marriage.  Take note.  Does anyone remember what I said, that that Strong’s #1135 in the Greek, is translated either as women or wife?  Very good Brad, wife.  So here we have a marriage in Cana of Galilee.  Why does it open up?

And the third day there was a marriage…

Well, the third day of what?  Again I think it is in there for a reason, and I think it is there to help us understand these women who came from Galilee, who were at the cross, witnessing Christ’s Crucifixion, and ultimately His Resurrection on Sunday.  So here we have this marriage in Cana of Galilee, so it is in Galilee.

…and the mother of Jesus was there:

Once again, why is that mentioned?  Do you ever wonder why it talks about His mother being there at that first miracle?  Well, what did all the accounts say in Matthew, Mark and Luke about these many women that came from Galilee, among whom was Mary would be mentioned, and Mary Magdalene, and Mary His mother was mentioned in a few of those accounts.   So once again, we are tying this back to this first miracle of three-and-a-half years earlier or so, then the account of the Crucifixion, and what we see is that there is a marriage on the third day, and the mother of Jesus was there.  It is really, really, to me pointing to the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Christ.  Let us go on.  Verse 2:

And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.

Now again I want you to notice the word marriage, and the word that we are studying is women, and sometimes it is translated as wife.  Verse 3:

And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.

What does the wine make you think of?  The last supper.  Thursday night.  Remember Jesus?  What did He say about that?  Let us go to Luke 22.  What did He say in Luke 22:20?  This is the night before His very last meal, before the Crucifixion on Friday, was Thursday night’s Passover.  And Luke 22:19-20 says:

And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

Do you see there we have it?  Back to John 2, this marriage they wanted wine, and again I am pointing to the last supper when Jesus was talking about the cup with His blood, which He shed the very next day.  From the time they put that crown of thorns on his head and platted it on His forehead and around His whole head, to the spear being cast into his side and the nails being driven into his hands and his feet, all the blood that He lost and gave up His life.  So they wanted wine in this John 2 miracle account here:

…the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.

What does He mean by that? 

…mine hour is not yet come.

Well that is a good three years later, at least three plus years to go, because when was His hour come?  At the cross, so here we are pointing to the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  Verses 5-6:

His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six water pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

I am not going to develop this, but you know, what did we always think this meant?  And I still think it is in there, it is in the passage.  The six water pots pointed to what?  The six days of creation.  So I still believe we are focusing on creation here, and I will tell you why in a minute.  Jesus said in verses 7-10:

Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

Everyone thought Moses was the greatest Prophet, right?  The Jews still think he was the greatest Jewish, Hebrew person ever to live.  They discount Jesus Christ.  I had a talk with a Jewish friend this week at work.  We talked about Jesus a little bit and what I was going to talk about today.  Moses, everyone in the Jewish race thinks Moses is the greatest.  Now that would be in keeping with this.  Moses, and then every prophet got a little less in grandeur and ability and things like that.  You would have your peaks and valleys of miracles that were done perhaps, but here we are saying, but thou hast kept the good wine until now.  So the ultimate prophet who was typified by Moses and every other one that went after him was Jesus Christ, right?   So He kept the good wine until now, the very end, and He was the last one.  Remember Jesus said, there is no greater man that has lived than John the Baptist, and then of course Jesus followed six months later in birth, and when John the Baptist’s ministry was done, which was to announce Christ, prepare ye the way, make the paths of the Lord straight.  Then Jesus Christ was the final, the ultimate.  In Verse 11:

This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

So I want to go back to those six water pots, and I really do think they symbolize creation, the six days of creation.  But what does this have to do with these women, this marriage, this idea of the cross?  And these women were there witnessing they had come from Galilee?  Well, I think it has to do with who these women represent, who these women represent.  I want to take a look at John 1:1-3, talking about creation, turning water into wine, is a creative act.  If water was left for the last thirteen thousand years, it still is not going to be wine today.  That was a true act of creation as well in those six water pots.  But in John 1:1-3:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Who is it talking about?  Who is the person of the Godhead in view here?  Jesus Christ, and it is the creation.  So it is talking about Jesus was the Creator.  He did this miracle in Cana of Galilee. He created wine out of water, six water pots pointed to the six days of creation. 

Coming from Galilee, is to symbolize His elect.  And I am going to give you the hint here, where we are going with it.  His elect, those He came to save, His witnesses, His bride, His wife they are all synonyms for what I am trying to develop here.  Why is the creation mentioned in this first miracle?  Because all these other things were pointing to the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Christ that we read in the beginning of John 2, this miracle of turning water into wine in Cana of Galilee.  All these things kept pointing to three years later.  Why was creation mentioned all of a sudden, which is pointing way back, eleven thousand years back?  Well, let us find out.  Ephesians 1, I think is going to tell us, Ephesians 1, that is why that was thrown in there in that miracle account, Ephesians 1:3-5:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Here is the key, verse 4:

According as he hath chosen us in him…

So there is the chosen.  I am suppositioning here that the chosen people, the elect, the bride of Christ are those represented by the women from Galilee who followed Him to Jerusalem for His death.

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

So, what do you see there?  What is Galilee really representing?  It is at the very beginning of His ministry.  Remember the very first miracle He did.  But remember His mother Mary asked Christ and He said, mine hour is not yet come, it was going to be a good three plus years later.  But I think that this miracle is pointing to the fact that the elect, the bride of Christ, His wife was chosen before the foundation of the world, before He created the world, and those six water pots are there. 

So coming from Galilee, every Gospel account Matthew, Mark and Luke talk about the women came from Galilee, women from Galilee.  Acts 13 that we looked at earlier, the witnesses who knew Him from Galilee, again why was that mentioned?  I think it is pointing to that miracle in Cana of Galilee, the first miracle, and the fact that Jesus Christ was resurrected on the third day.  Here that miracle was on the third day in Cana of Galilee. 

So let us go to that third day, that Resurrection, then and see these women.  If these women are his elect, they picture his elect, they were there because, remember we are crucified with Christ.  Again the men were left out, but the women were mentioned in all three accounts, the women from Galilee who came with him from Galilee, ministered unto Him, were there witnessing, almost crucified with Christ, seemingly.  And in Luke 24, is it not amazing that none of the Apostles were there first.  Who were the first ones to come to the tomb?  Again, it was the women.  Luke 24:1:

Now upon the first [of the sabbaths], very early in the morning, they came…

Now who are they?  Probably a bad place for a chapter marker because “they” refers to chapter 23:55 and 56:

And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after…And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments…

Chapter 24 does not skip a beat it keeps going:

Now upon the first [of the sabbaths]…

So in other words, on Sunday morning they came, the women came:

…unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared…

We just read it in the prior chapter:

…and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

And here is the thing I want you to realize.  How many of us think that on the Resurrection Sunday, that only maybe two or three women came, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the Mother of Jesus came, that was it, or just three women came?  But again we are insinuating here:

…and certain others with them.

So, these women came and others with them.  It just so happens the accounts we read of Easter Sunday just talk about Mary Magdalene approaching Christ, grabbing him by the feet, and the other time when He said, Touch me not, and then Mary His mother being there at the tomb.  But there were others there too, it just so happens to be that there are only a few mentioned.  So they found the stone rolled away:

And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

So I really do believe that these women are representative of the elect of God, the chosen, the bride of Jesus Christ.  And the word women, not surprisingly, Strong’s #1135 in the Greek in the New Testament, it is translated a lot of times as wife which I really think locks it in, these women are a picture of His wife, His bride, His true elect, they came from Galilee.  I always wondered why this was mentioned.   I really wondered at the last two weeks when I was studying this, that is what hit me.  Why was it mentioned women were there at the cross?   Women came to the tomb first. 

Well, let us look at four, let me just prove it, four places where it is translated “wife.”  Do not take my word for it.  Let us turn to Matthew 1:20 and we will see there that this is about Joseph:

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife…

It is the exact same word women that we read in the Gospel accounts, and we have been looking at in the Resurrection Sunday, Easter Sunday morning when the women came to the tomb.  It is the same word, but obviously, it is aptly translated here, wife:

…fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

So you see how it is used as the word wife there? 

Let us go to another one, Matthew 5:32, clearly it has to be translated wife:

But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife…

That is the same word there Strong’s #1135 in the Greek.

…saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

So there is the word wife, it is in the context of marriage it makes sense, it is translated in a good way there.  Do you see how the word is not necessarily interchangeable but it is translated both ways so it kind of gives us a real clue as to what it means spiritually. 

Matthew 27, our third one.  I said I was going to give you four, let us go to the third, Matthew 27:19.  This was Pilate’s wife:

When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife…

That is Pilate’s wife.  There is the word wife, the word women, Strong’s #1135.

…sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

So there it is, a wife again. 

And one final look is in Luke 17, and this one is about Lot and his wife.  Luke 17:32, that is a familiar verse, it is a short one, but it is a great one.  It hits you right in the heart, especially today as we approach the end of time.  It simply reads in verse 32:

Remember Lot’s wife.

It is only three words, but it means three thousand things, I mean it is a lot of importance there, but again that is for a different topic, a different day. 

Remember Lot’s wife.

There is our word again, women. 

Here is what I want to bring out in conclusion with this study.  The women that came from Galilee and followed Jesus Christ to Jerusalem for this Passover, His final one on this earth, I really believe represent the elect, His bride, His wife, those chosen before the foundation of the world as seen in the first miracle at Cana of Galilee.  And all the language that surrounds what these women did, not only on the Crucifixion of Good Friday, but what these women, the part they played in Easter Sunday morning being the first to the tomb, and ultimately the consummation of that marriage, the consummation occurred right there as Jesus was crucified on Good Friday and then Resurrected on Easter Sunday.  Remember, Jesus said to Mary Magdalene.  Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father.  That has the insinuation of like, in marriage, that ability for a bride and a wife to finally have relations when they are married.  And then, in another account, we see Mary Magdalene did grab him by the feet.  The consummation of that marriage was accomplished by Jesus Christ on that glorious Resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday morning. 

So today if you are a saved person, if your sins are forgiven, you can rejoice like these women did when they first heard, why do you seek the living among the dead?   He is Resurrected, He accomplished, He did what you have been hoping for all the while you have known Him, which is, He is the Messiah, He is your King, He is your Husband, He is your Saviour.

What a glorious truth I believe is in the Scriptures about these women, the many women from Galilee who followed Jesus to Jerusalem to witness His suffering, his resurrection, and then to be his witnesses to the rest of the world. 

May all of us in this room today, if we are truly chosen of God be effective in our witness, to tell this great story to others that, other women, other brides, may be brought into the fold for the great King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ, the One and Only.  Amen.