|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
27:51-56 The rending of the veil signified that Christ, by his death, opened a way to God. We have an open way through Christ to the throne of grace, or mercy-seat now, and to the throne of glory hereafter. When we duly consider Christ's death, our hard and rocky hearts should be rent; the heart, and not the garments. That heart is harder than a rock that will not yield, that will not melt, where Jesus Christ is plainly set forth crucified. The graves were opened, and many bodies of saints which slept, arose. To whom they appeared, in what manner, and how they disappeared, we are not told; and we must not desire to be wise above what is written. The dreadful appearances of God in his providence, sometimes work strangely for the conviction and awakening of sinners. This was expressed in the terror that fell upon the centurion and the Roman soldiers. We may reflect with comfort on the abundant testimonies given to the character of Jesus; and, seeking to give no just cause of offence, we may leave it to the Lord to clear our characters, if we live to Him. Let us, with an eye of faith, behold Christ and him crucified, and be affected with that great love wherewith he loved us. But his friends could give no more than a look; they beheld him, but could not help him. Never were the horrid nature and effects of sin so tremendously displayed, as on that day when the beloved Son of the Father hung upon the cross, suffering for sin, the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God. Let us yield ourselves willingly to his service.
Verse 55. - Many women. These are mentioned as witnesses of all these events which the apostles are not recorded to have seen. Courageous and loving, they had followed the procession to Calvary, and at a distance watched the woeful proceedings there. Some, we know, had ventured to come closer to their dying Lord (see John 19:25). Which followed (equivalent to had followed) Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him. They had accompanied Jesus on his last journey to the Passover at Jerusalem, tending him during all the time, and of their substance ministering to his wants (Luke 8:3).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And many women were there,.... At the cross of Christ, at some little distance from it; but where was Peter, who had declared he would never be offended, though all men were; and would die with Christ, rather than deny him? and where were the rest of the disciples, who said the same things? None were present excepting John, as can be learnt from the evangelists; but many women, those of the weaker sex, were there, which was a rebuke of the former vanity and confidence of the disciples, and of their present pusillanimity and cowardice:
beholding afar off; Christ upon the cross, in all his agonies, the chief priests and people mocking him, the darkness upon the earth, the quaking of it, and the rending of the rocks: they were witnesses of all this, being at some little distance, by reason of the crowd of people and soldiers about the cross; and they beheld with an eye of faith, their bleeding, dying Lord, as crucified for them, and as bearing and taking away their sins: a sight which at once stirred up their affection and love to Christ, their concern for him, and sorrow for sin; and yet joy and peace, in believing in him:
which followed Jesus from Galilee: where they had seen his miracles, heard his doctrines, and had been savingly converted by him; and therefore followed him wherever he went, though an hundred miles or more, and through many difficulties and discouragements: they attended him in his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, and now at his cross; nor did they leave him when dead, and in his grave:
ministering unto him: not now, for he stood in no need of their assistance, nor could they give him any; but this respects what they had done heretofore, in their journey with him from Galilee to Jerusalem; when they ministered to him of their worldly substance, as a token of their affection for him; and which expresses the low estate and mean condition he was in, and is an instruction to his followers, how to behave towards the faithful preachers of his Gospel; see Luke 8:3.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
55. And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus—The sense here would be better brought out by the use of the pluperfect, "which had followed Jesus."
from Galilee, ministering unto him—As these dear women had ministered to Him during His glorious missionary tours in Galilee (see on Lu 8:1-3), so from this statement it should seem that they accompanied him and ministered to His wants from Galilee on His final journey to Jerusalem.
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