November 13

Text: Matthew 28:1

Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.  (NASB)

The remarkable thing about Jesus’ resurrection was what God did in granting life to Jesus’ crucified body.  Another remarkable thing stressed by the resurrection event was the courage of those who publicly mourned Jesus.  That definitely was not what was expected.

In the following observations, I am not suggesting that all of Jesus’ followers did not mourn his death.  The observation: danger can make us intensely selfish.  Being courageous when no danger is perceived is one thing.  Being courageous when danger is obvious is quite another matter.

From the moment Jesus was arrested, the twelve were demoralized.  Their expectations did not meet the reality of Jesus’ circumstances.  Only one of the twelve had the courage to go to the courtyard of the location of Jesus’ Jewish hearing/trial, and he emphatically denied knowing Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75). The only disciple mentioned being close enough to the crucified Jesus to hear him speak was “the disciple whom he loved” (John 19:26, 27).  Two groups observed Jesus’ crucifixion from a distance (Luke 23:49).  Of course, individuals may have come close as Jesus died.

After Jesus died, only two men (Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus) and two women (Mary Magdalene and Mary [likely the wife of Cleopas]) were mentioned as being close to Jesus’ body.  Matthew mentions Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” as the first to come to Jesus’ tomb—not at all what we would expect.  We would expect a group of people Jesus healed, a group who valued Jesus’ teachings, and certainly the twelve who would make a “soon as possible” visit to the tomb—but a couple of women?

People of spiritual courage always surprise us!  We would never have expected Paul to be the disciple that he became (consider Acts 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13, 14; 1 Timothy 1:12-16).

Suggestion for reflection: Does anything in your personal behavior suggest your faith may be based on the convenience of the circumstances?  If so, what?  (Read 1 Thessalonians 1:2-9.)

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 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell