Days before the death of Christ, we read of the woman and the alabaster jar (Matthew 26:6-13), annointing Christ with this beautiful and very expensive perfume. Many were indignant that this was a waste. But this was an action of devoted love. Holy Week invites us into a time of slowing down and reflection. To pivot our gaze on the last week of ministry as we recall Christ’s closing steps on this earth.
What does Easter mean to you?
For many it might be all about budding blossoms, Easter eggs, hot cross buns and Spring lamb. Families look forward to an inviting meal on Easter Sunday with loved ones. This year will look very different, as many countries are under lockdown and socially distanced from one another, addressing a worldwide pandemic.
For Christians, even though gatherings are not permitted at this time, in our hearts we can still revere the events of this timely week in the Christian calendar and focus our hearts towards Christ and His saving grace.
With sadness we contemplate some of the major milestones in the journey Christ tolerated. The emotional aching of His heart, the gruesome burden His body bore through suffering as we trace His final steps towards Calvary and the Cross. His concluding moments as a man, rejected and despised, struck down and afflicted. He took our infirmities and carried our sorrows (Isaiah 53).
- What fresh perspective can we gain from the insightful lessons Christ taught and the unconditional love He displayed?
- How can we prepare and remember, as we embrace this passion filled story of God’s redemptive and eternal love?
Palm Sunday celebrated Christ’s humble yet triumphal entry riding a lowly donkey into Jerusalem (John 12:12-15), days before his betrayal and the Crucifixion.
The Last Supper with His much loved disciples, where He washed their feet, in an act of humility. Then shared bread and wine in the first Communion. Demonstrating His call for us to love others with the same meekness He exhibited throughout His life.
Later that same night, set in the Garden of Gethsemane, we openly observe His anquished prayer before God, ahead of Judas’ betrayal to the officials. Here each step forward outlines how He was insensitively mocked and ruthlessly tortured in this somber and shadowy long haul towards Calvary where our Christ was brutally crucified.
On this long dim day, where many followed Him. I am centering on the women at the Cross (John 19:25-27), who never departed from Christ. They were somewhere closeby, helplessly watching and devotedly praying throughout this difficult and gruelling time. From varying cultures to personal struggles each followed Him along this own journey of pain and adversity. Witnessing His crucifixion and burial, remaining, when many fled until Resurrection Sunday morning.
What can we learn from these incredible women?
There are many accounts of who exactly the women at the Cross were. We do not have a list of their names. Were they like you and I? Some accounts name Mary, mother of Jesus; Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene. I believe there were more. Perhaps modest and ordinary, their lives had been dramatically transformed. From different worlds. They had their own story to tell. Of their service and influence, instruction and encouragement. Did they count the cost? Now they responded with devotion, closely with commitment, loyalty and fearlessness standing together. United by the love they had for their Lord, at the foot of the Cross, trusting faithfully until the bitter end. Linger with me as we discover details from their silent but steadfast and abiding admiration.
Never allowed cowardice to fill their hearts of courage
To witness death by crucifixion is an agonising ordeal. The long-suffering first hand seems so terrible, yet despite the ongoing calamity, these blessed women were unable to say or do anything to change the course of events. Such remarkable courage visible through their fortitude and valour as they stayed and quietly watched the soldiers torture Christ. With servant hearts of faith.
Never became dispassionate while patiently and prayerfully waiting
While gaping in horror, their faces outlined a calm peace as they patiently waited. I believe silently they continously prayed as they stood closeby. Each of these women had in some way had to surrender their will and lives. As they stared in disbelief with emotions so raw and harshfully pained. With sereneness, they beheld the torture, death and then removal as the body of Christ was taken by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus to the tomb. Their minds must have been filled with unending questions between this time and the glorious Easter Sunday morning. But we read only of their sincere and unwavering service as they worshipped and waited.
Never halted their hope with disbelief
With reverent profoundness, I cannot imagine the agony and sorrow they felt, especially Mary, the mother of Jesus. Even though at times stood afar and might have seemed distant, her unbreakable strength is what inspires us. For we have no idea how she was able to powerlessly gaze upon her much loved son, being viciously tortured until death, then left dying on the Cross. Nor can we fathom the anguish and heartbreak these dear women anxiously endured as they waited together. Gathering around Mary, the mother of Jesus in her greatest affliction and demise. How they managed to wait until the Sunday morning, we will never know, yet they did and Mary Magdalene arrived early only to find an empty tomb. The grief and distress that overtook her and we read of her desperate weeping. That bitter moment is miraclously broken by life giving words as the risen Christ speaks out her name.
These women whisper a story of compelling courage, prayerful waiting and unremitting hope. Into our hearts as feebly we attempt to comprehend their actions. They had no option but to cease from any rush or preparations and understand their powerlessness. Surrendering everything to their Lord. Their personal Shepherd where firsthandedly they had encountered the wonders and mysteries of His infinite love. Finally led them from loss and chaos, from death to life, from hopelessness to hope on that glorious Resurrection day.
Share your thoughts…
Imagine you are at the Cross with these resolute and brave women, who so audaciously submitted their lives to faithfully watch and wait for Christ, their Messiah and Saviour. How would you stand as they did, risking their lives, relationships and reputations to follow Christ?
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