Those Who Did Not Desert JesusDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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.
Before Christ died, Peter did the “unthinkable.” He rejected Jesus. He denied any personal association with "this man." Peter was not alone, of course, because all of his disciples deserted him, just as Jesus had predicted (14:27, 50).
Well, not quite all. Yes, the twelve who had followed him most closely abandoned Jesus when he was arrested. But others who followed him stayed with him to the end. According to Mark: “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” (15:40-41). What a contrast between the male and female followers of Jesus!
When we consider the way Jesus had ministered to women, related to them, and included them among his followers, it’s not surprising that they stayed with him to the end. He had honored and empowered them far beyond anything they had experienced in their lives. Their love for him and loyalty to him makes perfect sense.
It makes less sense, of course, that the male disciples abandoned Jesus. Mark doesn’t tell us why this happened. But he does underscore the faithfulness of the women who were part of Jesus’ entourage. And this faithfulness encourages us to imitate their example, no matter our gender. When our faith is being tested, when we are criticized or attacked because of our relationship with Jesus, it can be tempting to desert him, at least for a while. Yet, the more we consider what Jesus has done for us, the more we remember his love and mercy, the more we will be like the women in Mark 15, remaining with Jesus to the end.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you ever been tempted to desert Jesus, at least for a moment? What helps you to be faithful to Jesus even when your faith is tried?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, as I read the excruciating account of your death, I’m impressed by the faithfulness of the women who followed you. While the male disciples disappeared, your female followers stayed close by to the end.
I want to be like these women, Lord. When my faith is tested, I want to remain faithful to you. When I am criticized, perhaps even tempted to hide my Christianity for a few moments, help me to be bold in telling the truth about you and my relationship with you.
Today I want also to pray for believers in places of the world where they are endangered because of their faith. Help those who face harassment, imprisonment, or even worse to be faithful to you. Give them strength and reassurance by your Spirit. May they be like the women in Mark 15, faithful to the end. Amen.
A Letter to My Younger Self
One of God's great gifts to us is wisdom from those who have walked the road before us. Our elders offer deep insights into navigating the seasons of life, and when we take time to listen, they offer valuable strategies for leading from the soul. One day, with the Lord's blessing, we will all find ourselves entering a season of retirement, perhaps complete with grand-parenting, and soaking up years of grace.
How will we arrive at those years, and how can we plan now to live well in that season of life? We've asked a few friends to help us think forward in this series, A Letter to My Younger Self.