I'm up early this morning so I can get some writing done. But before I do that, I always like to get in my quiet time. So here I am at 4:00 a.m. reading about what's known as "the great commission" and before Jesus gave the command to go out and make disciples, some very curious things happened:
Let me explain the scene: Jesus was hanging on the cross and a group of people who knew him, including many women, were watching from a distance. These next passages are so touching to me:
"Some women were watching from a distance. Among them was Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there." Mark 15:40-41
"Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's sons." Matthew 27:55-56
Afterwards, Joseph of Arimathea, asked for Jesus' body and placed it in a tomb. The women followed Joseph to the tomb.
At dawn, after the Sabbath and carrying spices and supplies, they went to the tomb to properly prepare his body. Love and devotion drove them to action, but I think about the risk required for this task. I wonder how far they walked.
Was it dark when they left their homes?
Soldiers were posted at the tomb. What would they say?
Who would roll away the stone?
Soldiers and a stone - two very difficult obstacles mixed with extreme grief.
They didn't let it stop them; they continued on their journey. The Bible says this:
"After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men."
The guards became like dead men, but not these women!
I don't know about you, but a violent earthquake would have freaked me out. Certainly, a glowing guy sitting on a rock would have done me in.
But not these women!
They received a mission from the angel, "He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you." Matthew 28:6-7
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
What happened next? Jesus showed up.
"Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me." Matthew 28:8-9
"While the women were on their way..." Matt (28:11)
Before you can make disciples you have to be one.
Being a follower of Jesus requires true devotion. It means being concerned with the needs of others, taking risk, persevering through obstacles, being obedient, pushing through fear and worship. When we do that, Jesus shows up.
How devoted are you?