Q: Matthew 27:55 says that many women were there beholding afar off among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedees children. Mark 15:40-41 conveys the same idea -- there were some women looking on from a distance, and Luke 23:49, likewise, says that Jesus acquaintances and the women who accompanied him from Galilee, were standing at a distance, seeing these things.
However, John 19:26 reports that standing by the cross of Jesus were Mary his mother, and Marys sister, Mary the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene. Since Mary Magdalene is explicitly mentioned in both groups, it stands to reason that the two groups are one and the same. But one group is at a distance, afar off, while the other is at the foot of Jesus cross!
A: Two different scenes, at two different times, are being described. John 19:25-27 relates that Mary and Mary Magdalene and the other women were present at the foot of the cross when Jesus was alive. That doesnt mean that the Roman soldiers let the women stand around there for a prolonged period of time. The women left Calvary after Jesus entrusted His mother to the care of the beloved disciple, and regrouped, joining other acquaintances of Jesus, some distance away. It is to this subsequent point in time -- after Jesus death -- that the descriptions of the women afar off pertain.
Yours in Christ,