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Lent is a time for Christians to fully examine their relationship with the Lord. Through prayer, sacrifice and service, we develop an understanding of what it means to "take up your cross and follow me." (Mark 8:34) As Christians, we are called to live Christ's life- not to study the life of Jesus and try to be like Him, but actually let Him live through us.

In my own journey this Lent, Our Lord is asking me to fully understand His love. Through several prayer experiences, I hear him calling me to this deeper understanding of His love- not just with my head, but with my heart. And the key to understanding that amazing love is to understand His suffering. My intellect understands that the Lord suffered, but I have never explored His suffering with my heart. His love is greater than His suffering, but how great was that suffering?

I am participating in an independent Threshold Bible Study called People of the Passion by Stephen J. Binz. In this study, I will explore the meaning of discipleship through the people who encounter Jesus during His passion. These people witness and are impacted by the suffering of Jesus. They saw the suffering of our Lord first hand. It is my hope that by going on this journey through their eyes, I will have a better understanding of His suffering and then of His love.

Please know that I am not a scholar. I have no formal education in theology, philosophy or church history. I'm just a regular person trying to make sense of what Jesus is asking me to do- to love like He loves.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 27- The Women of Galilee Remain with Jesus

Luke 8:1-3

Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God.  The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities:  Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many other who provided for them out of their resources.

Mark 15:40-41

There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome.  These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

These women were with Jesus throughout his ministry.  They cared for him and provided what he needed so he may teach and minister to others.  They were an integral part of his life and ministry.  And I am embarrassed to say, that I have never really paid that much attention to them.  I didn't realize that Jesus had such followers.  But it makes perfect sense.  We hear about women that he encounters throughout the gospels.  I makes sense to assume that after their encounters, they would also become disciples and follow Jesus. 

It is interesting to point out that the only disciple of the 12 who were with Jesus at calvery was the beloved disciple.  The other 11 disciples fled in fear.  But, as we see in Mark's gospel, all the women who had followed Jesus were there.  They didn't leave his side.  They stayed with him to the end.  But, Jesus chose the 12 to build his church.  And he chose one of those that betrayed him to lead his church.  This is a great illustration of the mercy of God.  Jesus doesn't call the qualified, but qualifies the called.  The 12 weren't ready to lead, but by the time Pentecost rolled around, they were ready.  They were on fire. 

But let’s get back to the women of Galilee.  What can we learn from them?  They didn't run in the face of fear.  They didn't abandon the Lord when things got ugly.  I wish I can say that I have always had that much faith.  But I haven't.  I have failed in this area.  I think there have been many points in my life when I looked suffering in the eye and ran.  Maybe it was when my friend needed a helping hand and I was too busy.  Or when my ailing Grandmother just needed someone to sit with her but I was too busy.  Or maybe when a friend just wanted someone to pray with but I was not comfortable.  For me it is easy to come up with excuses but it isn't easy to do what is right.  And that is what discipleship is about- doing what is right for God, living in his will and loving his people.  These women followed Jesus to places they didn't want to go.  They saw things they didn't want to see.  But their lives weren't about what they wanted.  Their lives were about him.  He was what they wanted. 

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