Women Who Were Impossibly Faithful By the Power Of God
Updated: May 2, 2020
Faithfulness through seemingly impossible situations. Do you know what is an impossible situation? Imagine with me, if you would, that someone you knew and were very close to was brutally killed because of their faith? Imagine also, that you had the same faith that they had and your life was in danger. All of your friends and loved ones who shared your faith were in hiding, fearful that they would be discovered and they would be brutally murdered as well. Follow me back to the crucifixion of Christ. He was brutally murdered simply for being the perfect Son of God. The lives of all who followed Him were now in danger. Tucked away in a home somewhere were three, precious, God fearing, Christ loving women who knew that a job needed done, regardless of the consequences. Jesus, their Master and Teacher, had been killed and His body had not been properly prepared for burial. They knew He was buried in a tomb that had a stone larger than their strength sealing the door way. They also knew that the tomb was being guarded by Roman soldiers who wanted any followers of Christ dead. This by all accounts was an impossible situation. However, they knew Jesus Christ up close and personal, and they set off on an impossible journey, trusting in the Lord who makes impossible situations possible, even though they thought Christ to be dead. These three women were Mary, the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, and Salome, the mother of James and John, two disciples of Jesus.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, knew better than anybody else the power of God in impossible situations. Her Son was born of a virgin birth. God was her Emanuel and was with her throughout the difficult situations involving the birth of Jesus, and then having to flee for the safety of her Son when Herod wanted Jesus dead. She lived during a time where every male child under the age of two was commanded to be put to death. Knowing that was going on all around her had to be absolutely heartbreaking, I can only imagine the tears that were shed by this young mother because of the slaughtering of little boys all around her, and the fear that she felt in knowing that her own precious Son was in danger. But she kept Him safe, she trusted God and followed His leading. She had lived a life, devoted from the very start to her Savior. She was committed to Christ.
Mary Magdalene, was at this time a follower of Christ, but she was not always a follower of Christ. When Christ first made her acquaintance, she was possessed with seven different demons. She was, to say the least, in a miserable state. She had no control over her being, she was in a deranged state of mind, hopelessly depressed, nervous, and frantic. When the demons who had plagued Mary for so long came face to face with the Messiah, when these awful, blood-thirsty monsters who had such a tight hold on Mary heard the commanding voice of Christ telling them to leave forever and never to come into this woman again, they had no choice but to follow His command and go. What a complete calm and peace must have flooded Mary as she felt the waves of holy healing course through her body. For the first time in a long time she could see clearly. And the face she saw was the face of Christ. How complete she must have felt as anger and distress were replaced by mercy and grace. No wonder she became such a fierce follower of Christ.
Salome was the mother of James and John, wife of Zebedee. James and John were two of the twelve disciples, and Jesus once called them “Sons of Thunder”. Scriptures do not give the explanation behind this nickname, so my thoughts are that Zebedee was a bit of a spit-fire. The Hebrew meaning of Salome is “peace” and from what I can tell, Salome lived up to her name. In Matthew, we find her approaching Jesus with James and John, asking if her two boys could sit on His right and left side in His kingdom. That reminds me of many dinners where Gideon and Jackson are fighting and arguing who gets to sit beside me. I settle this dispute much like many other mothers in my situation...one of you can sit on my left side, and one on my right! There, problem solved. I imagine in my head a similar conversation between James and John with their Mom concerning who would sit by Jesus. I don’t know if she was trying to bring peace to a dispute, but there was an obvious dialogue between her and her boys prior to that conversation with Jesus. From other passages in the Bible, it would appear that in James and John’s early years, they took more after their father than they did their mother. In Luke, they were met with opposition from some villagers, and these boys went straight to the throat, asking Jesus if He wanted them to call fire down from heaven to consume these unbelievers. After a rebuke from Jesus, they walked on to another village. Later, John would trade his thunderous nickname to “Apostle of love”. Salome encouraged her sons to be followers of Christ, even leaving their family's profession and following Him with no preparation. She, herself, was also a fierce follower of Christ.
These women are beautiful examples of faith in the midst of impossible situations. And what is faith? We see in Hebrews 11:1
Followers of Christ are equipped with the Holy Spirit, Who is a source of conviction and strength. He implants in our heart a hope that is so very different than the hope that those outside the faith hold on to. A believer's hope is secured. “Hope” is confident optimism. Not something that we “hope” will happen, but something that we are assured WILL happen. Faith is knowing that the unseen hope that the Holy Spirit has implanted in our hearts will come to pass because our Heavenly Father is working all things together for good in our lives. Faith is prodding forward, through hard times and good times with our eyes on the cross, ever trusting, ever knowing Who goes before us.
Mary, Mary, and Salome showed a beautiful, unwavering faith that third morning after Christ died on the cross. They knew the task before them was impossible, they knew there was a stone blocking their way, they did not know how it would be moved but that, my friend, did not stop them. They decided to make their preparations and GO anyway. They did not know the outcome of their journey, they just knew in their hearts that it was a journey that needed to be taken. The word impossible never entered their minds. In Mark 16 one of them asks who would roll away the stone for them from the entrance of the tomb? They KNEW the stone was there, they KNEW it needed to be rolled away, they KNEW that they did not have the strength to do it, but they went anyway. As a woman, who is a follower of Christ, I am greatly encouraged by these ladies' testimony of faith. Imagine what must have been going through their minds when they arrived at the tomb and the very large stone had been rolled away. Slowly, they stepped into the tomb and a man, dressed all in white came out and told them that Jesus was not there but was risen from the dead. For a moment they were gripped with fear and confusion as they ran back to their house to relay to the men their account of what had just unfolded. Mary Magdalene is the one who shared the news. Scripture says they all raced back to the tomb, and the disciples seeing it to be empty, turned and went home with a new hope in their hearts. They did not fully understand what was taking place, but they left that empty tomb different than they came. We also see that Mary Magdalene was not quite ready to go home, but stood outside of that empty tomb, weeping in overwhelming confusion. She looked again into the tomb, and it was no longer empty. There stood two angels before her telling her that Jesus was alive! Then she turned, still confused she saw another man whom she thought was the gardener, and thought that maybe he had taken her Lord. This is where Christ revealed Himself to her in the flesh. He called her by name, and she believed. Mary was the first person to see Him alive and He sent her with a message of hope to deliver. This woman, who had once been plagued with seven demons became the first to deliver a direct message from the resurrected LORD, who had set her free from her bondage. He had conquered death in her life, and now she was proclaiming for the first time the Good News of the resurrection of Christ. Oh, what a morning! God blesses faithfulness with hope. He renews our hope, He gives us strength, and He answers our questions. I am touched at the gentleness Christ shows women of faith throughout the Scriptures. Mary did not immediately understand and believe, but persisted in trying to find answers, even though she found herself all alone. There is an important lesson to be learned from Mary. When the answers are not clear to you, don’t give up seeking. Even when you find yourself the only one seeking. Turn to the One who has the answers...who IS the answer. Jesus is the way, the truth, the life. We have life, because He conquered death. When Mary turned away from the empty tomb, she came face to face with Jesus and left with her heart full of hope. These three women of faith were able to set out on an impossible task because each one of them had a personal encounter with the Messiah. Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mary Magdalene, plagued by demons and healed by Christ. Salome, whose name means peace and who mothered the disciple who was Christ’s beloved and became a personal follower of the Messiah with her husband and her sons. There was a super natural power inside of them that drove them forward in hope and faith. Have you placed your faith in the hope-giving Messiah? Are you trusting Him through all of your difficult and seemingly impossible situations? These beautiful women of the faith have been and continue to be a beautiful encouragement and testimony of faith, relentlessness, and courage. They were touched before the resurrection of Christ by the hand of God in flesh, and when Christ ascended into Heaven, they were continued to be touched by the hand of God in the Spirit. There is power in the blood of Jesus that brings healing and hope to impossible situations.