The Strength of Love
The women of Galilee would experience an emotional roller coaster of feelings that is hard to appreciate as we read the story two millennia later. Luke tells us that the women (Luke 24:4) were “perplexed,” which in the Greek means “to be entirely at loss.” The word conveys utter confusion, explaining what was not there, the body of Jesus. This perplexity, however, turned to terror (v. 5) and amazement (Mark 16:5) when they saw who was there—the angelic messengers of resurrection day who sent them to the fearful disciples in hiding with word that the Savior was alive! Upon hearing the message of the resurrected Christ, they fled from the tomb, because “trembling and astonishment had gripped them” (Mark 16:8). But as the import of what they had seen and heard in the cemetery took hold, the emotional landscape shifted once again—as “they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy” (Matthew 28:8).
The strength of their love had caused them to follow Jesus in the Galilee and to follow Him to Jerusalem and to stand by Him at the cross and to follow again to His burial and, ultimately, make this final, fateful mission of mercy to the Master who had rescued them from the demons of darkness and the oppressions of indignity. God was rewarding the strong devotion, courage, and love that motivated them to follow. As Hebrews 6:10 tells us:
For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.
If the heavenly Father remembers the acts of love and kindness done in His name to others, how much more the selfless acts of love these women had ministered to His Son? Matthew tells us that as they were making their way to the place where the disciples were in hiding, the greatest moment of joy they would ever know occurred. The message the angels had delivered at the tomb was confirmed—by the physical appearance of Christ himself!
And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me” (Matthew 28:8–10).
Love that had sought no reward had nevertheless been rewarded. The fear and confusion is taken from their heart by His gift of peace and grace. These women of Galilee had suffered much but now knew the matchless privilege of being the first in many marvelous, overwhelming, gracefilled firsts:
The first at the cross
The first at the tomb
The first to hear of the resurrection
The first to see the risen, glorious Son of God
The first to tell the story of the Prince of
Life’s defeat of death
Through the window of these women, we see clearly that the only appropriate response is to do what they did: worship the Christ and tell others of His victory. It is an event that demands we bow the knee to the risen Lord and share the joy with a dying world. As another incredibly strong woman, Fanny Crosby, put it in her marvelous hymn “Christ Is Risen”:
Christ hath risen! Hallelujah!
Friends of Jesus, dry your tears;
Through the veil of gloom and darkness,
Lo, the Son of God appears!
Christ is risen! Hallelujah!
Gladness fills the world today;
From the tomb that could not hold Him,
See, the stone is rolled away!
We see strength on display in the lives of these godly women. It is my desire that their example would stir my heart—and yours—to rise to a new strength of devotion, of courage, and of love for the Son of God who loved us and gave himself for us (Galatians 2:20). To “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). Or, as the psalmist put it:
Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the Lord (Psalm 31:24).
This excerpt was taken from Windows on Easter
©2009 by Bill Crowder
All rights reserved.
Discovery House Publishers
Grand Rapids, Michigan.
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