True love is brave
courageous, willing to risk, sacrifice;
and so three Marys, Salome, Joanna and others
walked in the pre-dawn darkness
to the tomb.
Why did they go?
Was it mere duty, a woman’s obligation?
Perhaps one had signed up for that morning’s anointing work
but more than six said, I’m coming too.
And why were there no men?
No brothers, no disciples, no secret Sanhedrin believers.
Were they kept away by the facts,
Jesus was really dead?
Death is final.
End of story.
Was devotion the motivation for this band of women?
Because He had changed their lives
they still loved Him
wanted to express their deep gratitude
even though He was gone?
But is there more to see?
Is there something about us as women to notice?
Believe is a feminine noun, so
do females have a different capacity for faith?
Perhaps even greater?
Eve did believe the deceptor first.
Because of love
the women went … just to be near Jesus.
That, for them, was enough.
And because of their devotion
they encountered angels!
Were rewarded … the first to recognize … see Jesus alive!
First to believe His resurrection!
By contrast the men
their love turning cold
evaluating next steps, a new way forward
later rebuked by Jesus for not believing the women.
Would you have volunteered to go with the women,
to be near Jesus when all hope was lost?
I want to be like these women
when my world feels hopeless,
my prayers lifeless,
to still desire to go near You.
I want to be quick to recognize Your unseen Presence
respond with quick-to-believe faith
that rises above my fears.
Like these women
when I give You my belief in obedience,
in surrender, in hope,
even as I wait for Your timing,
I am given life
by the “Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead.”*
I want to be rewarded for my faith
not rebuked for unbelief.
May it be so my Jesus,
For several years I’ve been thinking about this mystery of belief being a feminine word; about the women being first at the tomb, the first to believe, the first to see Him, the first to proclaim Him, and about the idea of being near Jesus today even though we cannot see Him as did these women. It’s a topic deeper and richer than my little brain can plumb but it’s been intriguing and captivating none-the-less.
I first wrote about these women in the spring of 2015 and their brief but remarkable stories which have marked me today as a woman. I understand the driving desire to be near a beloved someone who is now gone, in heaven. We go to the graves, the markers of our loved ones to feel near them just as these women did 2000 year ago. We understand.
How do we go near Jesus today?
Going to Israel is exceptionally meaningful and worth the expense and planning, but we don’t have to go to His tomb to be near Him. He is with us all the time if we have welcomed Him into our hearts. Too often we live as if He’s nowhere near us, as if He’s only seated in Heaven and not present every second of every day no matter where we are. Practicing His presence is the definition of faith, of the belief these women our sisters in Christ demonstrated. After Pentecost these women knew Him living within them just as we do today. And I bet their lives were continually transformed.
Our act of Easter-morning-belief today is not to go near the actual tomb but to believe His nearness every moment of every day. To talk to Him all day long. To ask for His help, His wisdom, His guidance, His grace, His forgiveness and His perfect love when ours is not enough. It is believing all this is true even and especially when we don’t feel it. This is faith at its essence.
Today, this Monday after Easter, most of the world goes back to its normal pattern of life untouched by Jesus. The news is depressing, the pace driven as always, yesterday’s joy replaced by today’s demands. Easter is over for another year so the vast majority of people around the globe forget about it completely.
But were the disciples back to normal on that first Monday?
Did they move on as if nothing happened?
Most were still bewildered and confused, but a few had heard and seen enough to know something was strangely different. They had yet to be challenged with a new vision of resurrected life. Yes, they had to wait as Jesus commanded for the Spirit to come at Pentecost, but after that moment, they were radically and forever changed.
And we can be too. By faith. By believing all this is true. It’s just as true for us as it was for them.
I pray you will celebrate in some way every day for the next 50 days. At least until Pentecost. Keep the victory of the cross in the forefront of your heart and live as much as you can!
And may the world around you take note that you have been with Jesus and that encounter, Your relationship with Him has changed everything!