Many fled before the first lash tore open Jesus’ back…
The disciples abandoned him.
Judas betrayed him.
Peter denied him.
Where were the thousands, he had fed with the five loaves and two fish? Where were those who had been astounded by his miracles and crowded him with such fervor that he had to slip away? Were the people who yelled “crucify him” some of the same ones who had received healing from his hands?
But not everyone fled. The gospel of Mark records this beautiful, breathtaking detail.
“Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James the younger and of Joseph and Salome. They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for him while he was in Galilee. Many other women who had come with him to Jerusalem were also there” (Mark 15:40-41).
The Women Who Stayed
They stood at a distance. Mary Magdalene, Mary, Salome, and others from Jerusalem who had ministered to Jesus stopped and stood at a distance to survey the cross.
The cross . . . Calvary . . . the place where love and sorrow kissed and intertwined. Pain and passion intersected.
Yeshua—how sweet the name. Jesus. He was their Teacher, their Healer, their Bridegroom. He captured their hearts. They encountered the love of God through Jesus and they were never the same. He exalted them, he liberated them, he restored them, and he loved them. His love was extravagant.
And as Jesus ministered to others, these women ministered to his needs (Luke 8:1-3). They moved to the beat of his grace. After caring for the One they loved, how could they leave him now? And so, they watched—from a distance.
Imagine how the women felt as they looked on and yet were powerless to stop the insanity before them. Eyes wide and brimming with tears, throats thick and heavy with sorrow. I feel certain the women were silent, stunned, and scared as they witnessed the suffering their Savior was enduring.
Did they have to hold each other up or hold each other back from trying to stop the madness? Perhaps they were a bit confused. Jesus had delivered them from demons, saved them, and healed their sickness, and yet he was not stopping his own death.
- What is going on in your life that you wish Jesus would stop?
- What does not make sense?
- How do we reconcile life when the bottom drops out and our faith hangs by a thread?
I’ve been there – how about you?
Devastating disappointments can tempt the most devout faith to doubt God’s goodness. The enemy wants you to flee – not just from God but from others. But it is in these times, you need Jesus the most. Standing together with Christ we can find the strength to remain steadfast in our faith.
How the Cross Serves as a Reminder
The cross reminds us that God’s love is real and that we can trust him when we don’t understand. When Jesus took the nails and the blows, it was his love for you that carried Jesus through the cross. It was a love so deep and intimate; he gave his life for you.
I have the incredible privilege of hearing stories from women who love Jesus. I close my eyes and tears fall as I think of those who have seen appalling suffering in their life: sexual abuse, divorce, abusive husbands, betrayal, cancer, rejection, adultery, alcoholic fathers, and more.
Like the women who surveyed the cross, they could have turned away from their faith, but instead, they remain steadfast with Jesus. Often their very place of pain is now their passion for ministry.
Trust is born out of love. Don’t let the enemy of your soul use the disappointment of life to dilute your faith.
This week as you dive into the Nourish Scripture see the passionate love Jesus had for you on the cross. Come closer to the one who is passionate about you and find the strength to carry on.
Nourish Scripture: Mark 15
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Blog written by Aliene Thompson. Aliene Thompson is the founder of Treasured Ministries and the Author of the Nourish Bible Study Series. © 2019 Treasured Ministries.