Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Women- Best of 2011

(This is a repost for the "Best of 2011" hosted by Shanda at A Pause on the Path. The post, entitled The Women, was my most viewed post of 2011, and was written on April 23, 2011).

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.


Jennifer said...

I can't imagine what the women, who had spent so much time with Him, must have felt at the cross watching Jesus suffer like that. I'm sure they wondered about the teachings He had spent hours sharing with them.

Love this: "As Jesus experienced the ultimate form of humiliation, he showed ultimate humility."

Joan said...

Hi Rebecca:

As Jennifer said, it must have been difficult for these women as they watched Him suffer. I beleive Jesus had a special place in His heart for women - it was a woman to whom He first appeared after the resurrection.

Blessings and thank you for visiting me yesterday.