Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Women

As I have read through the gospel accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection this week, I have taken special notice of one thing.

All four accounts are different, touching on different details of this story of ultimate sacrifice, and emphasizing different things in the story. But there is one thing that has stood out to me that all four gospels have in common….one detail that they are all sure to mention:

The women.

If you read through all four gospels, you will see that there was a large crowd of women with Jesus on the day he suffered for our sins.

They were with Jesus as he, beaten and bloodied, carried his heavy cross up the Via Dolorosa. They watched as his physical body gave way and could no longer carry the weight. (Luke 26-27)

The women were there as the guards tore off his clothing and cast lots for his undergarment. They were there as the nails pounded through his hands and feet, as his body cramped from dehydration and pain. (John 19:25, Mark 15:40, Matthew 27:55-56)

The women witnessed Jesus, as he hung dying on the cross, reach out to the criminal next to him. As people spat on him and mocked him, he loved. As a mother watched her son die, as these women watched their Savior suffer, they also watched him tenderly save a lost sheep. (Luke 23:42-43)

As Jesus experienced the ultimate form of humiliation, he showed ultimate humility.

The women were there as, with all his strength, Jesus cried out to his Father God. And the women were there in the moment he breathed his last breath.

In every step of Christ’s suffering, many women walked beside him. They did not have to. Their salvation was surely not at stake. In fact, most of the men who are present throughout the gospels are absent in these few chapters.

It was not an easy thing to do, to walk beside Jesus. But when women have passion, it is fierce, and as we see here, it is unstoppable. It can withstand the mocking and humiliation, intimidation and fear, and likely the hardest of all, the passion of a woman can withstand the sorrow.

Their mission was not to stop the crucifixion, because this was the most crucial event in history. Their mission was to be there: to be with Jesus, to not leave his side.

As Jesus suffered, he looked out into the crowd, and amongst the jeers and the hatred, his eyes met the gazes of those who loved him, those who reminded him of the beauty of salvation amidst all the ugliness of sin.

These women spent much time with Jesus during his life, and they were with him in those sacred moments leading up to his death. In these moments they learned.

They learned love, humility, and strength. These seeds that were already planted in them from creation were grown, and they were in full bloom on this day.

As we know, on the third day Christ rose. As we celebrate this day, the most important day in history, and as we sing praises to our God who sacrificed all, I ask that we, as women, would spend time here.

Here: in the pages of history, on the Via Dolorosa, in the crowd at Golgotha, at the foot of the cross, and at the empty tomb.

Spend time with your savior, gaze into his eyes, and allow him to grow the seeds of your heart. He has given you the mission to walk with the weak, to stand in the midst of fear, to look into the eyes of the suffering, to show humility in the face of humiliation, and to be beauty in a world of ugly.

As you spend more time with him, pray that the passion he has placed in you will become fierce and unstoppable.

Spend time here, and see what blooms.


JD said...

Dear sister in Christ!

We're studying the women of the Bible all year in our Bible study group, and it has opened by eyes to their significance in the Bible, the depths I hadn't considered before, our value in God's story. I LOVE this post!

This especially touched my heart " He has given you the mission to walk with the weak, to stand in the midst of fear, to look into the eyes of the suffering, to show humility in the face of humiliation, and to be beauty in a world of ugly."

I'd love to share this post with them our next Bible Study night!

He is risen -- celebrating HOPE with you...


Rebecca said...

Yes, there are many women who were such great examples of real strength. Wish we heard about them more today. You'll have to tell me what book you are using in your study.

oh, and you can definitely share this!

sonyamacdesigns said...

recently I started reading All the Women of the Bible by E. Deen a 1955 copy at that ... some how I started in the middle of the book with Lydia in Acts ... the first convert according to DEEN was a woman ... Lydia

14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

significance ... significance

Thank you for your beautiful words ... I am encouraged

Rebecca said...

@Sonya- Yes, significant indeed. Thank you for sharing :)

Mark Langham said...

Awesome. Thank you!!

Jill Foley said...

This is beautiful - thank you for the reminder of our role as women. I will be reading this several times this week.

lynnmosher said...

Wonderful post, Becca! I cannot stand it when one of my kids suffers a physical injury. I cannot imagine the agony in Mary's heart as she walked along the Via Dolorosa as her precious, suffering son dragged that cross beam. Too much to imagine!

I, too, love this..."He has given you the mission to walk with the weak, to stand in the midst of fear, to look into the eyes of the suffering, to show humility in the face of humiliation, and to be beauty in a world of ugly."

Resurrection blessings to you!

Rebecca said...

@Mark- I am appy all e girl power suff didn' sop you from reading :)

p.s...ree (3) leers on my keyboard are no working. Can you guess wi ones? I would ell you, bu I an' :)

Rebecca said...

@Jill- Thank you!

@Lynn- Thank you, and I am happy you came by!

Brianne said...

Thank you for this! How beautiful to remember the women, how they were with Jesus during these moments, and thank you for compelling us readers to spend time with him here.

Laura Darling said...

I love this aspect. Beautiful. THank you for sharing.

Carole in the Faith Lounge said...

Rebecca, what a simply beautiful post, it was so encouraging to me at this time.

I am so delighted that I hopped over to your blog. :)

Bless you - I'll be back for more!!

Rebecca said...

@Brianne- Thank you for taking the time to come by! Happy you enjoyed it :) God Bless!

@Laura- Thank you and God bless!

@Carole- Maybe God placed this on my heart specifically for you :) Happy you are encouraged, and I look forward to seeing more of you!

Sarah said...

There's a bit of a joke about women being irrational. Too trusting. Loyal to a fault.

I'm jsut beginning to see that, when God designed Woman, He made her full of irrational, fierce, unshakable love because HE KNEW the world needed that kind of love.

It's the kind of reckless love that poured out a bottle of lifesavings onto a pair of dirty feet. The kind of love that held Woman, transfixed, at those feet...even when dinner needed to be made, and it's a love that won't be taken away from her.

It's not perfect, it can cause pain and be used unwisely. But it is God-given & precious to Him.

Thanks for the reminder, Becca!

(how's that for a "long comment"?)

Rebecca said...

Sarah- Thanks for the long comment :) I like them's (usually) a good thing if what you write gives people something to say.

I love this sentence you wrote in your comment:

"It's the kind of reckless love that poured out a bottle of lifesavings onto a pair of dirty feet."

On my prayer wall in my room I have the words "reckless abandon"...I pray that I could love so recklessly for my savior.

Jessica said...

Hey Rebecca, Thank you for visiting and posting a comment on my blog! I'm not sure that I have many readers outside of a handful of friends. It was nice to hear from someone. I loved that Easter post on Mary's encounter with the risen Christ too! Yes, my husband and I started going to Brook Hills in Fall 2009 then joined last August 2010. We love being part of the church, hearing David's teachings and all the people we've met there. I hope to post my notes soon! I'm working on them now. If you want to read more about him, I blogged about our church here

Jessica said...

Oh! And I read your recent post about "The Women" and it was great! It reminds me of the book "Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped Women of the Bible and What He Wants to Do with You" by John MacArthur. It was an interesting, informative and inspiring book!

Rebecca said...

Jessica- That is awesome that you go to Brook Hills. I have been listening to David Platt's sermons online for years, long before he was know as the guy who wrote Radical :) I am going to go read your post about your church, and I am very interested in reading that book by John MacArthur. I have been looking for something like that :) God Bless!

Jessica said...

That's so neat you've been listening to David and following Brook Hills for so long! Especially from so far away. That's what's so nice about the internet and technology today. My husband and I may be starting travel nursing soon and i'm so glad that we can continue to "attend" church by watching the sermon videos wherever we are. I agree with you about the church needing to hear what he's been preaching, even if it is hard to swallow. A lot of what Jesus said is controversial and hard for us to understand or accept. David's not perfect by any means, but he's a good teacher of the Word and tries to stick to the truth.
Thank you for thinking about us down here in Alabama! Thankfully, we and everyone we know is safe and unaffected by the tornado damage. But those in Tuscaloosa, Fultondale, and Pleasant Grove have been hit hard. We can deal with fallen trees, down power lines, no electricity and conserving water, but the death toll is climbing in those areas and so many people have lost their homes. Even those who are far away and feel helpless, prayer is always powerful! said...

OH I love it! So true. The women experienced so much. Thank you for linking this on my blog. You have blessed me!