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Beth Moore - The Three Marys


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Let me tell you what's in the Scriptures for us in this gathering place. You and I are a large gathering of women who are going to encircle and surround an original little pack of women that traveled alongside the living Lord Jesus Christ, throughout the region of Galilee and on into Jerusalem. And I want you to see it, Luke chapter 8, we're gonna start there, verses 1 through 3, and then we're gonna go all manner of place in the gospels tonight. Luke chapter 8, verses 1 through 3. "Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages," this is talking about Jesus, "proclaiming and bringing the good news that the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities; Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's household manager, and Susanna, and many others" Somebody say many others. "And many others who provided for them out of their means".

I want you to notice that with me, that Jesus is traveling throughout the cities and villages. He's proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve apostles are with him, and we are told in verse 2, something that I did not see until full on into my adulthood, years and years and years into women's ministry, like staring at a page with such astonishment coming to the absolute, authentic conclusion based on sacred Scripture that these women were literally traveling around in the same pack of people with the living Lord Jesus Christ, gone all my life without see it. It's not that anybody was hiding it from me, it has been there all along. It's just that nobody had really made a big deal out of it.

Now, I want to make sure you understand something as we're studying these passages tonight, because you and I are gonna look at gatherings of women in the gospels. And so, we're gonna be selecting out that gender, but it's not gonna be to put aside or to, in any way, put down our brothers who we respect with all our hearts. Nobody is gonna argue that there were 20 apostles. There were 12. They were men. Upon the prophets and the apostles, that foundation, the Book of Ephesians says, "Upon which Christ Himself built His church, He Himself being the cornerstone". But what I want you to see, without seeing them as the foundation, I want you to see that at least they're found right there in the passage.

Could somebody be a little bit excited about that with me tonight, just alongside. They don't have to be the foundation, just let them be found on the page. I need somebody to be happy about that time. I'm just happy they're right there on the page because that was electrifying to me. When I first I though, how come nobody talks about that? What in the world are they doing, and what in the world did they do at night? I mean, they would go off in this little area, and these go off in this little area, and here they're just like traveling through the countryside, all through the region. What in the world are they doing? All this time ministering out of their means to Jesus and to these apostles. I love the King James rendering, because it says that they ministered to them out of their substance.

And I want to say to somebody today, if you have anything at all to bring to the table, girlfriend, you got you some substance. Anybody know what I'm saying to 'em? You got you some substance because you bring all sorts of things into this house tonight. You bring a whole lot of background. You probably carried around a lot of baggage in your life. You've had gifts that have been entrusted to you, talents that have been entrusted you. You have skills that have been entrusted to you. You've had encounters and experiences that are unique to you, because you, with your DNA, your background, everything that makes you you, experience them firsthand. You've been given a wealth, in one way or another, called as women of means, women of substance, to provide for the things of the kingdom of God and they had their place. I want you to notice something about them again, because notice the ones they call out by name.

It says in verse 2 about midway through, "Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means". This is what several of the commentators are assuming. In the highest probability, Mary Magdalene and Susanna are single women. The reason why they believe that is because they are not associated in any way with an elder son, with any kind of family, and there's no husband that is mentioned there. It could possibly be that Mary Magdalene is single and has been single all along, and it could be possible that Susanna is a widow or also has been single all along. But we know this, Joanna's the wife of Chuza.

Now, the reason why I bring this little interesting portion to you out of the commentaries talking about whether or not they were single or widows, if you glance back in the recent verses, you're right there in Luke chapter 8. Glance back in Luke chapter 7, and I want to show you something. I'm not saying these are the same people. I'm saying that the way Luke is writing in his narrative, he has a gorgeous writing style. And you're gonna see that he talks about, in the seventh chapter, just prior to the place where he talks about the women that are traveling alongside providing for this band of ministers out of their substance and out of their means, coming alongside and helping. Look just prior, and you're going to notice about in verse 11 of chapter 7 in Luke, Jesus raises a widow's son. Then would you look at verse 36, and do you see the caption right over it?

If you're familiar with the passage, it is the one where Jesus is having dinner at the Pharisee's home, and the sinful woman comes in to the dinner, and she comes to her knees at the feet of Jesus, and she begins to wipe his feet with her hair, pour ointment on his feet, and weep at his feet. That brings us straight into chapter 8 that says that in this band of travelers was this group of women. And we see two. We have no idea. I'm not suggesting, there are some commentaries that say that there are those that think that Mary Magdalene could have been the sinful woman. Was she or not? We have no idea. We have no reason to think it was. But this is for sure, these three women came from three totally different places.

I want you to try to imagine with me that in that band of women, there was a Mary Magdalene with all of that background. We'll get back to her in just a moment. And then there was a Joanna, who was the wife of someone of great position and power and glory to the great name of Jesus. Somehow, they all got along, traveling together, sharing a flat iron. I want you to just press in to this with me, because see, what we're seeing as we look at this traveling group of people alongside Jesus is that it was not about a power struggle. This was about presence. They were in his presence, and he was in theirs. I love what it says in verse 2. Notice with me it says, "And also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities".

One of, or at least one, of your major translation says cured. I love that. I love that because I think, you know, the apostles had been called. Some of these women were following because they had been cured, cured. Wouldn't it be something if under this roof, under the power of the Word and the unleashed power of the gospel, that somebody might be cured of an infirmity that has harassed her for years. What would happen? These were some kind of powerful women, tenacious, audacious, in a throwback to the unsurpassable chick flick of 1989. These were the original Steel Magnolias. They're the ones who hung close when things really, really got tough. Here's what I want to do with you throughout the rest of the time that we have together. You and I are gonna go to all four gospels, and we're gonna stand in that soil near the cross of Christ, and you and I are gonna look for women in that scene. Because it would have taken some courageous women, is what I'd like to suggest to you, to go to that place and to bear that sight.

Now, here's what I want to tell you as you would compare, and we don't have the opportunity to do that the way we would wish to if we really, really had time. But if we could really compare gospel to gospel, what we would see is that the spotlight shines on a different group of people in several of the gospels. In several of the situations of the gatherings there at the cross, the spotlight would be upon a small group of these women. Other times, we're gonna see it shrink down where the other women are still there. We know that from comparing the the other gospels, Scripture to Scripture. But the spotlight now goes to a few. And then, ultimately, in John's gospel, we would see it zero in on one in particular, as we see a Resurrection scene in John chapter 20. So, keep in mind that as we see these groups of women, there are others that are very likely around them, but the spotlight is shining on the.

Turn with me to Mark chapter 15, verse 37, "And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom". Please don't miss that it was torn from the top to the bottom, not the bottom to the top. That makes more sense to us, somebody split it from the bottom and pulled it to the top. That's not how it happened because all access comes from God. It initiates with God. When the veil was torn, it was torn from top to bottom. Everybody say from top to bottom. Because listen, it's he who came for us.

Verse 39, "And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, 'Truly this man was the Son of God!' There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem". Are you seeing how this goes with the Luke 8 text? So, we've got a couple of other names that are thrown into the mix, and we see that we're told also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem, standing there at a distance with their eyes on that cross.

Turn with me to Luke's gospel, Luke chapter 23, verse 44. "It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, 'Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!' And having said this he breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, 'Certainly this man was innocent!' And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, they returned home beating their breasts". And verse 49, "And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things".

All four gospels planting these women solidly on the ground of the cross. John 19, verse 25, "But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene". And it says, then, "When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, 'Woman, behold, your son!' And then he said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother!' And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home". I want you to plant your eyes right there in that 25th verse, because suddenly we're seeing that they're nearer to the cross. Was it because the time was getting so near, was there a move from a distance to a closer proximity?

Somehow it was close enough in John's gospel that they were able to hear what Christ said to John and to his mother. But notice with me in verse 25, three women are called by name. I mean, that is a lot of Marys. Three Marys in one verse. I did a little studying on it because it was like, wow, I mean, that's a pack of Marys right there. And did you know what I learned? Do you know that in Judea at that particular time in ancient history, Mary was the most popular girl's name. And so we got three of 'em right here. Now, could be that there are four women there. There's some commentators say there's probably four, because it says that there was Jesus's mother, and then there was his mother's sister. And it could be that her name is Mary, too, but wouldn't that be odd that they just like, "She's Mary too. We're naming her Mary too". It could happen, but maybe it's the sister-in-law, but she's Mary too.

And then we've got Mary Magdalene there, and just think with me, how many one in five? Imagine one in five of us in this room has exactly the same name. I mean, like it'd be so easy to pick the team in gym class, like all Marys, you know? You can even look up the three Marys on Wikipedia. Yes, you can. I decided to bring one to show you. Do you see her expression far over there to the right? I think that Jesus may have said, "Mary," and she went, "Which one"? I don't know if this kind of thing troubles you. But in Luke 10:39, y'all know that whole little narrative about Mary and Martha, how Mary's busy doing many things that she's so irritated? I mean, Martha's busy doing many things. She's irritated because Mary's in there listening to Jesus teach the Scriptures while she's doing all the work.

And it says that there was a woman named Martha and a woman called Mary. You can check it out in every one of your translations. I cannot find an answer to that to save my life. I want to know why one was named Martha, but the other one was called Mary. I mean, did she have like 16 siblings and so her mother just went, "Mary"? I don't know why. Why was she called that? Why would you just be called that? It lacks a little imagination to just call somebody something that one in five women are called, but there you've got it. Mary, Mary, Mary. And it just so happens that what we're doing in this house today is it you and I are gonna put the flashlight on these three Marys tonight. We're gonna typecast, all of us, see if we can all find something to relate to in one of these three Marys.

So, go with me back to Luke chapter 1. "In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth". Now, the sixth month is the sixth month of Elizabeth's expectancy with John, who will be the baptizer. "To a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, 'Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!'" I want you to notice some things about it. I want you to notice that the very first thing we learned about her is that she is a virgin. Before we know her name, we know her type.

Now, I don't know what that does for anybody else in the room, but that starts making me squirm, because I'm just gonna say to you that that leaves a bunch of us out. Is that fair to say? It just leaves a bunch of us out. So, there are some of you in here that can really relate to, and I hope that you can, others are not able to relate as much. But I just want you to know, we know of her purity before we even know of her name. But there's got to be a place in the redemption story for women who have not been shady.

You might say, "Well, I don't really have that great testimony". Well, listen, you have a wonderful testimony, stick with it. Your testimony is what you would want for your children's children and their children's children. What if you didn't have to be a train wreck, but you still knew it was grace? Anybody, could somebody own that with me today? Then that's you, and that's a beautiful thing. Now, here's something really interesting here, because there was nothing vaguely scandalous about Mary, but it bears mention that it did not spare her of the scandal of the gospel, because she wasn't scandalous, but everybody thought she was in. Verse 46, "And Mary said, 'My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; and he who is mighty has done great things for me, holy is his name.'"

She's humble. She's grateful. She's pledged to be married. And she also suffered profoundly and unimaginably. I want you to just try to absorb being the mother of Jesus and watching what happened to Jesus. I want to remind you that he was beaten before he was ever nailed to the cross. He was marred beyond recognition before he was even ever nailed to that cross. Try to imagine that. But I want to read you, as we just lock in on Mary Magdalene for just a moment and see how many of us can relate to her. I want to read you Mark 16:9 through 11 that says this, "Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons".

Seven demons is a load to carry. Would that be fair to say? Seven demons is a lot of demons. That is a lot to take on. Listen, I did not have a single demon, and I was a complete wreck. I know what it's like to be oppressed by the darkness and by things that are demonic, but I have never been possessed. I don't begin to know what it would be like to be possessed with one, let alone seven different demons. Now, she had to have been delivered early on in the ministry, because by the time we see Luke 8 in the narrative, she is already with this group of people traveling, and she's ministering to Jesus and those who are carrying the gospel message. So, early on, he had to have met her. Early on, he had to have delivered her.

And I want you to just think what she had to have been like, because we could safely assume that she was a lot of different things. Number one, probably nuts. Would anybody conclude that by the time you've got seven different demons, I mean like it's a lot to have one demon fighting in you, now you've got seven of them. I want you to think with me what it would be like from that which is from hell, which is from the darkness, that residing in you. Probably she was nuts. Probably she was very destructive. She was definitely dark. She probably was very powerful because they were, maybe even seductive, I don't know. Had she embarrassed herself? Undoubtedly, undoubtedly.

Part 2
Looking back in Matthew chapter 27, did you notice in verse 61, I love the way it puts it. "Mary Magdalene and the other Mary". We've had the three, you know, we've had Mary the mother of Jesus. We've had Mary Magdalene. Now so we have Mary the mother of Jesus, nothing scandalous about her, absolutely nothing scandalous. We got Mary Magdalene, she's the opposite end of the spectrum entirely, the antithesis of Mary, the mother of Jesus. And then for every one in between, raise your hand because you have the other Mary. Just other, other. "I'm the other Mary". And I thought to myself, you know, there's some baggage that comes along with that too 'cause you might think well, "You know, I just never do fit in. I never do fit in because I'm always the other one".

What you need to know tonight is he went, "You know, I'll take that other one. That one right there". 'Cause what's gonna happen to us if we're not careful? Listen, I love social networking. I'm on it every single day. I'm very, very sanguine, my personality. I love all that social kind of input. I love to down through my Twitter feed and look where everybody is from and what parts of the world, and what their ages are, and if they have pets or if they don't. I love to read the bios. I love all of that. I love all of it. I love all of it. But if we're not careful in our believing world and all our believer networking, we are developing a hero syndrome in the church of Jesus Christ on the globe at a time where the gospel needs to make it into every people group. Tongue and nation, the hero syndrome.

In other words, if we're heroic, we gotta let people know it. We post a picture on Instagram of us being fabulous, fabulous because no fame, so lame. And that's what happened to us. Beautiful thing getting to heaven and meetin' everybody. "All the Mary's over here". I mean like whoo, I mean it will just be like a roar, like a buffalo herd, buffalo herd. All the Mary's over here, all the Mary's over here. Just go, "Other Mary's". Here they come, here they come. Beautiful, beautiful. But she says, "My name was Mary". And we go, "Mary Mag..". No, the other Mary. It'd be good. It'd be good.

I want you to notice something with me 'cause this is just killer to me, killer to me. And this is what I hope you're gonna get out of this before you leave here tonight. These women are watching this whole thing and here they are opposite the tomb, having watched Joseph of Arimathea come and pull the body of Jesus off the cross. Couple of years ago, I did a very, very long, verbose creative writing over Easter weekend on Joseph of Arimathea trying to picture what it might have been like. It's just fictional. It's fiction based on some fact.

So, here's what I want to do, I'm just gonna pull out a portion of it that gets to the point where he's taking this body down. I want you to know that by the time he was taking the body down, he was having to hurry because, of course, he had given up his last breath at mid afternoon. Everything had gone dark but then by the time it reached about 6 o'clock that time of year, the Sabbath would have begun and all work of this kind had to be finished and he would have to be back toward home. So, he was working so quickly. So, picture this with me.

Grumbling all men or a protest one of the soldiers set the short ladder behind the cross and threw out his palm toward Joseph for a piece of fabric. He then began the gruesome task of weaving it under the left arm of Jesus across his chest and under the right arm. The soldier cursed, 'You had to pick this one.' Joseph was startled by the callous and carelessness of the men. It was a high price they'd paid for seeing too much. Irritated, the soldier yelled, 'Do you want him off of here or not?'

Joseph nodded and stepped back. With two more sledges of the hammer, the nail gave way and the feet fell free. The body dropped six inches and lurched forward. Joseph instinctively threw up his arms to catch him. 'Get under him,' the soldier on the ladder ordered Joseph, 'if you're planning to catch him.' And Joseph did. The hammer was handed off to the soldier on the upside. The other held each end of the fabric woven over the chest of Jesus. Joseph's back pressed to the wood until he could feel the jar of every hit ricochet within his rib cage.

The weight of Jesus's body pulling heavily against the nails in his wrists caused him to give way quickly and brutally. 'You got him?' The soldier on top yelled. They let the body of Jesus done gently at first but just as Joseph was trying to get his grip solidly on dry flesh, they dropped him. His entire weight fell into the lap of Joseph and thorns from his crown tore down the side of the Arimathean's face. Joseph was making sounds. He could hear himself, sounds of horror and panic. His mind nearly splintered from his frame.

As Joseph grabbed hold of himself, he saw the soldiers walking off. 'Wait. Where are you going? Get back here. I order you.' The one swinging the hammer as he walked glanced over his left shoulder and yelled, 'It's yours now. We're finished here.' 'But how am I to get him to the tomb?' It was an impossible task for one man. He inhaled until every bit of afternoon air seemed swallowed by his chest and he squeezed his eyes shut and let out a scream. He was broken now, beyond all earthly mandate. Joseph did not how long he had been there when his eyes blinked open. At first he thought he was having a dream. He mustered the strength to lift his fist and wipe the water, blood, and dust from his eyes. No, no, it was real. The color's vivid. 'Joseph, it's me. It's okay, we're here.'

Nicodemus knelt down in front of him and touched his hand. He was flogged on each side by several servants clutching containers, the scent of myrrh and aloe stirred Joseph fully conscious. They lifted the body of Jesus carefully off of Joseph and helped him to his feet. Nicodemus urged him on. 'Joseph, we don't have much time. It will be dark soon. We must work quickly.' The servants carrying the heavy urns of spices, about 75 pounds in all set them down from time to time catching their breath. All of them trudged the distance in silence except for an occasional direction from Joseph. They're just outside the mouth of the tomb.

They laid the body of Jesus and there in the hush beyond the madness of Pilate and violence of the dismount, two men ministered like priests in the holy place. They labored in tandem like they'd been trained all their lives to handle the dead. That Jesus could no longer feel pain, was of no consideration whatsoever to Joseph and Nicodemus. They sponged the body and groaned the torn flesh. They bound it round and round with linen cloths and packed it with spices. They each paused silently at the last glimpse of Jesus's face. Joseph combed the matted hair from his face with his fingertips and both of them stared.

Nicodemus reached over and closed the mouth of the great teacher, preparing to circle the linen under his chin but he could not silence the words replaying in his mind. 'Truly, truly, I say unto you, unless one is born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.' Joseph covered the bruised eyes of Jesus's last. 'A body you have prepared for me.' The servants helped move the body lengthwise to the mouth of the tomb then Nicodemus dismissed them. The small opening only left room for two of them to maneuver the body into its place. Joseph crawled inside then reached for the upper body of the corpse. Nicodemus lifted them lower, crawled in behind them and together they stretched the body of Jesus on the honed ledge.

The last vestiges of evening light shone through the opening just enough for Nicodemus to see Joseph nod. The task was done. He stooped back through he opening and waited outside. Joseph sat with the body for what could only have been a moment but time seemed suspended in the cave's thin air. He blew the last bit of air from his lungs and forced himself up. Before he departed the tomb, he leaned forward on his knees and kissed the feet of Jesus. 'Messiah, son of David, kingdom not of this world, what will become of us, God forsaken?' The precious oil running down on the beard of Aaron and on the collar of his robes had been traded for human tears and when they dried, surely the dew of Hermon would dry with them. Without a single word between them, the two men rolled the stone down the embankment and slid it securely over the opening.


I don't know the details. It's a fictional account filling in the blanks. This I do know, to take a body off the cross is a dramatic action and those women who had stood by and to their horror watched their Christ who had cured them, delivered them, given them dignity and called them alongside to minister to him out of their substance watched him beaten beyond recognition, watched them hang him on a cross, lift him up and watched him for every moment he hung there until he said, "Into your hands I commit my Spirit," and he took his last breath. We have these for our big sisters in the faith. These were the original female followers of Jesus Christ, unafraid to follow him wherever he went.

Chapter 28, verse 1, "Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb". I love that God was so and, to raise his Son from the dead he went, "You know what? It's morning enough for me. I say when it's morning and it's morning. It is morning. I don't care if the sun has come up or not. I don't care if it's still dark. I call it morning. When I say it's morning, it's morning. Get up," amen? Amen. It just was like, "It's done. I've waited long enough". "And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it".

I mean, just like rolled it back and then just sat on it. "His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women". I love that he didn't say it to them because they weren't like, weren't on their side so they just like froze like dead men. "And the angel says to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he is risen, as he said. Come, and see the place where he lay. And then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.' So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples".

Oh, just stay here with me for a second 'cause I just want you to picture this with me. I mean, like they're just gonna like pick up their robes and haul. I mean, you just don't really hear of women in biblical days, I mean, do you ever picture like if you were watching one of those shows on The History Channel showing the New Testament, do you ever just picture the women like just pulling their garb up to about like mid-shin and just running, I mean just running with everything they've got. And they run with two wonderful feelings when they're put together, fear and great joy. Did you see it? Did you see it? Because I just want to throw out to you that there's nothing better than that. Look at verse 8, "With fear and great joy".

You want to feel the best feeling of all? That is some great joy with your fear, with a good side helping of fear. Why do I think that? Because girl, let me tell you something, that is an adrenaline rush if you were ever gonna have one. That's a roller coaster. That's when it goes over the side and you're having so much fun and you're screaming with everything you've got, but you are scared out of your wits. There is no better feeling on this planet in the human experience than a whole lot of great joy mixed with some good old fear. Like, "I'm scared to death but I can't keep from going. I've got to go. I'm scared to death. I've never been this happy. Could this possibly be true"? And it says in verse 9, "Behold, Jesus met them and said, Greetings!' And they came up, took hold of his feet and worshiped him," just worshiped him.

And I want to tell you something, something wonderful happens every time, something dramatic happens every time at the feet of Jesus, every single, did I say every time? 'Cause I meant every single time. I'm telling you, every time. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, every single time you see the feet of Jesus, something miraculous, something wonderful, something dramatic is happening at the feet of Jesus every single time.

It says in Matthew 15:30, "Great crowds came to him, the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others". Everybody say, "And many others". "And they put them at his feet, and he healed them".

Luke 10:39, Mary of Bethany sitting at Jesus' feet listening to him teach.

Luke 17:16, "A Samaritan leper Jesus cleansed and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet giving him thanks".

Luke 24:39, "See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have".

John 20:12 tells us about two angels that were dressed in white sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.

Revelation 1:17, "'And when I saw him,' John the revelator said, 'I fell as though dead.' And he laid his hand upon me and said, 'Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last.'"

Something about the feet of Jesus 'cause Ephesians 1:22 says, "And God put all things under Jesus' feet". So, when you were at the feet of Jesus, everything, every struggle you've got, every burden you've got, every situation, every question, every need for direction, every bit of suffering, every loss, everything you ever go through, it is under the feet of Jesus and if you want where the power is, go to the feet of Jesus. Go to the feet of Jesus. Can I always guarantee you that everything you want, you will get at the feet of Jesus? I cannot guarantee you that. What a can guarantee you is this, something dramatic will happen at the feet of Jesus. There will be a wonder for you and it will be something that you will know for the rest of your life was pivotal to your story and there you met the one for whom everything has been placed under his feet.

I love in John 11:32 when it says that Mary of Bethany came to Jesus where he was and she saw him and she fell at his feet only this time, she didn't have a wonderful thing to say, she said this to him, she felt safe to say this to him because he loved her and he loved her sister, Martha, and he loved her brother Lazarus. And she said to him, falling at his feet, "If you had been here, my brother would not have died". You are safe at those feet to say, "Why didn't you show up in time? Why didn't you show up in time? Where were you"? The power of the feet of Jesus. Though he raised Lazarus from the dead, we may not have everything resurrected that we want but at those feet, we will get up resurrected, we will. This I promise you, you cast yourself at the feet of Jesus, you will be resurrected. You will get to get back on your feet a woman of fresh strength who knows that all authority has been given unto him.

So, here is what I've come to say to you and taken all this lesson to make sure you understand, I believe with all of my heart that what was true of those first female followers will, if we are willing to fully engage, be true also of us. So, based on their experience, these are a few things I want to throw out at you. Based on the fact that what my premise has been tonight is that somehow in this grouping of women, this surrounded Jesus during his earthly life and had the guts enough to hang with it. When so many others fled at the foot of the cross, there they still were, there they still were when everybody else was gone hanging around the tomb to see what they could do and there they went back early that Sunday morning and were the first ones to see that he had been raised from the dead.

So, based on those first female followers of Jesus Christ, here's what I would say to you. So, expect blood and guts. This planet is fallen with sin and it is swollen with sickness. Expect suffering, they certainly suffered. There's no living here and dodging it and there is no identifying with Christ fully without it. Expect to stand there and watch our culture scourge Jesus and hear the world mock him, and make fun of him, and him not say a single word in self-defense. Expect that to happen because it will happen. It happened to them and it will happen to us. Expect to be part of a kingdom that for now is crowned with thorns instead of jewels. Expect to have times when you think he is gone, maybe even dead, vacated the premises, that he's disappeared and you do not know where to find him. Expect that in advance.

They had times like that. Expect to feel at times that all is lost, that all hope is gone, that your best days of life are behind you and that there is nothing but emptiness and vacancy, nothing but an open grave in front of you. Expect there to be days when you just walk and walk and walk and nothing special is happening, and you're just tired and your feet are sore. But while you're at it, also expect that there will be times when those sore feet might break out into a run. Expect him to show up where you never could have expected him. Expect him to touch the eyes of the blind and cause them to see. Expect him to touch the ears of the deaf and cause them to hear. And expect if you'll keep your eyes open to see the lame jump to their feet in those harassed, and oppressed, and even possessed by demons to be rescued from darkness and transferred into the kingdom of his glorious light. Expect to be grossly outnumbered, and underestimated, and overlooked, and wonder how on this ever-loving earth you could ever be called more than an overcomer. Expect it in advance because in this world, you will have trouble.

Take heart, Christ has overcome the world. Expect to have moments of great fear mixed with great joy and expect, my friend, to see him again. Expect his kingdom to come and his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Expect him to roll back the sky like a scroll and come tearing through the atmosphere on a white horse. Expect the one who left behind an empty tomb to one day empty every single grave, and raise the dead, and judge unrighteousness, and save this world, and expect Jesus of Nazareth the carpenter's Son to so exceed your expectations, oh holy woman of God, that you will be able to say with the Apostle Paul that the sufferings of this present time were not even worthy to be compared with the glory that he revealed in you. And expect to be part of a multitude beyond number, from every nation, tribe, and tongue to cry out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb".
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