Dorothy Sayers (1893-1957):

Perhaps it is no wonder that the women were first at the Cradle and last at the Cross.

They had never known a man like this Man—there had never been such another.

A prophet and teacher

who never nagged about them, who never flattered or coaxed or patronized;

who never made arch jokes about them, never treated either as “The women, God help us!” or “The ladies, God bless them!”;

who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension;

who took their questions and arguments seriously, who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be “feminine” or jeered at them for being female;

who had no ax to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend;

who took them as he found them and was completely unself-conscious.

—Dorothy L. Sayers, “The Human-Not-Quite Human,” in Are Women Human? Penetrating, Sensible, and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), 68. [HT: David Sunday, “First at the Cradle and Last at the Cross: Women in Luke’s Gospel” (sermon)]

To my knowledge, the fullest evangelical answer to the questions, “What does God think about women, and how does he treat them?” is found in Jerram Barrs’ Through His Eyes: God’s Perspective on Women in the Bible.

In the forthcoming book, The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived, Andreas J. Köstenberger and I provide a chronology and harmony of Jesus’ final week, and in a glossary we provide a summary of all that we know about the key players.

For most evangelicals, the enigmatic list of women at the cross and tomb remain unstudied. Here are a couple of examples from the reference guide::

Mary (wife of Clopas). A Galilean witness of Jesus’s crucifixion, she may be identified as Jesus’s “mother’s sister” (John 19:25)—though see discussion under Salome below. According to Hegesippus, as quoted by Eusebius, Clopas was the brother of Joseph of Nazareth (Hist. Eccl. 3.11; 3.32.6; 4.22.4). If so, Mary and Clopas were Jesus’s aunt and uncle. Their son Simeon (Jesus’s cousin) became a leader of the Jerusalem church, succeeding James the brother of Jesus.

Salome. One of Jesus’s female followers in Galilee, she witnessed the crucifixion and went to the tomb on Sunday (Mark 15:40; 16:1). The parallel passage in Matthew 27:56 makes it likely that she is the mother of the sons of Zebedee (i.e., James and John). Interpreters differ on the number of women represented in the Greek construction in John 19:25 (“his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene”). If “his mother’s sister” is a separate woman, the reference is likely to Salome (which would make James and John the cousins of Jesus). However, it seems slightly more likely that Mary the wife of Clopas is Mary’s sister (or sister-in-law). See the discussion under Mary (wife of Clopas).