When God Sent the Girls
by Rhonda Stoppe
After relentless beatings, a mock trial that lasted all night, Jesus was required to carry His cross to Golgotha. Shocks of pain would have shot through Jesus’ body as the cruel nails were plunged into his wrists and feet.
As the angry mob looked on and shouted angrily at Jesus, the women who had been Jesus’ followers, along with John the beloved disciple, courageously resolved to follow Jesus and stand with Him in His darkest hour.
Can you imagine what that day would have been like? How confused the disciples must have been as the One whom they had forsaken all to follow was not going to set up His Kingdom like they had hoped.
Remember when Jesus tried to tell His followers He would soon give His life a ransom for sin? Rather than comprehending the weight of Jesus’ words, James and John’s mother quietly sneaks over to ask Jesus if her boys could be chosen to sit on either side of Jesus in His Kingdom (Matthew 20:21).
Are you kidding me? Jesus is explaining the purpose for which He came––to die for the sins of mankind––and two of His trusted disciples totally missed the point. How kind and compassionate was Jesus response to their shortsighted, self-absorbed focus.
Do you recall when…
Jesus agonized in prayer the night of His betrayal? As Jesus cried out, Let this cup pass from Me…Not My will but Thine, we don’t find His boys wrestling alongside Him in prayer (like He had asked them to do), rather they were fast asleep.
Even when Peter had intentions to stand with Jesus, He warned him how that very night his fear would cause him to deny Christ. Imagine how devastated Peter was when he said, “I do not know the man.”
Upon Jesus arrest the disciples scattered. But John and the women would not forsake The Lord. As the rugged cross that would purchase our Salvation rose on Golgotha’s hill, Jesus would see an angry crowd for whom He would pray, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
There were two thieves on either side of Jesus. To one, because of his belief, Jesus would offer Paradise, while the other continued to jeer at Jesus along with the mocking multitude.
In the darkest hours on the cross, Jesus would have had to exert all His strength just to capture His next breath. Amidst the excruciating pain (we get our English word excruciating from the word crucifixion) Jesus’ gaze fell upon the faithful women and His beloved John.
Jesus knew their stories (He knows yours too). From Mary Magdalene out of whom He cast 7 demons, to Mary His mother who obeyed God as a virgin, Jesus knew and cherished each and every one of them. His gaze fell upon John when He gasped for breath to instruct him to care for His mother as his very own.
The Ministry of Encouragement
Imagine the encouragement Jesus’ would have drawn from those beautiful faces. With tears streaming down, their eyes locked on the Savior, could they have known how much they ministered to Jesus just by their presence at the foot of the cross? (Never would they have dreamed you and I would share their stories even today.)
In each generation, God raises up Christ’s followers. Some will preach powerful sermons, some will be warriors of prayer who do battle on their knees against darkness in spiritual places.
And some––some will be like the women at the cross. The encouragers. The ones who look past their own needs and comforts to be the people God will use to pour courage into those He leads down difficult paths for His Kingdom purposes. Oh, how thankful I am for the encouragers He has brought into my life when lonely times have crushed my heart.
Paid in Full
Standing so near this sweet band of believers earned the honor of hearing Jesus’ proclaim, “Paid in full.” Did the weight of His words open their understanding to the price that had just been paid? The term Jesus used has also been interpreted “It is finished.” Those from His culture knew He was referring to a debt that had been fully paid.
As the earth shook, the sky grew dark and the centurion soldier proclaimed, “This truly was the son of God,” what might Jesus’ nearby disciples have done? Did they huddle together? Did the women look to John for comfort and insight? The Bible doesn’t tell us, but one day you can bet I’m gonna ask those girls to tell me their whole story––how about you?
They Went Anyway
After the Sabbath, again it was the women who went to the tomb with the intention of giving Jesus a proper burial, rather than the quick one He had been given three days before. As the women walked to the grave, they pondered how they would even open the tomb since it had been sealed with an enormous rock by the Romans (see Mark 16).
I find it interesting that even though these women had no idea how they were going to get to Jesus’ body, they came early in the morning with all the preparations needed. How amazing it is to watch women with resolve to do what God puts in their hearts––even when they have no idea how He is going to pave the way for them to do so.
God Sent the Girls!
How glorious it must have been when the women saw the angel who told them, “He is risen!”
I find it fascinating that the first people God chose to inform of Jesus resurrection were a bunch of women. But not just any group of girls, no it was:
– Women who loved Him deeply.
– Women who knew who they had been before they met Jesus.
– Women who would devote the rest of their lives to telling others of how knowing Jesus changed their lives––forever.
And then here’s my favorite part. The angel gives the amazing assignment to “Go and tell the disciples––and Peter” (I love how Peter is singled out, since he may have been wondering if his denial of Christ would have discounted him from further ministry.)
God sent girls!!! Isn’t that awesome? Girls got to tell Jesus’ boys that He had risen––just as He promised! How they must have laughed with glee as they shared the great news! Oh that you and I would have the same zeal every day to proclaim to the lost the hope of the gospel.
Let it be said of us that we––the women of faith in this generation––proclaimed passionately:
Jesus offers forgiveness of sins and
new life to anyone who would repent and follow Him.
And she proclaimed with a loud voice, “Jesus is alive!” ––Oh Father, let it be said of us.
Rhonda Stoppe is the NO REGRETS WOMAN. With more than 30 years experience of helping women live life with no regrets. Rhonda Stoppe’s book MOMS RAISING SONS TO BE MEN is mentoring thousands of moms to guide sons toward a no-regrets life. Her new book IF MY HUSBAND WOULD CHANGE I’D BE HAPPY-And Other Myths Wives Believe (Harvest House Publishers) is helping countless women build no-regrets marriages. As a pastor’s wife, speaker, and author, Rhonda has helped women to:* Discover significance and LISTEN TO THIS RADIO EXCERPT of Rhonda Stoppe on “The Road Show” with Host Laurette Willis: “Exchanging Your Dreams for God’s Plans”