What Jesus Did! 'Not by Herself' — Matthew 27:56

Friday, December 22, 2017

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of James and John were there.
— Matthew 27:56
Illustration of Matthew 27:56 — Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of James and John were there.

Key Thought

We can't know what it was like for God watching Jesus die. We can imagine it. We can put our words and emotions into it. But we can't know. He is God. He had the power to stop it, but didn't. He had to withhold what was rightfully his to use because our salvation was more important than his own pain. I can't know what that means.
However, God does give us a window through which we can see the whole story of Jesus. Through this window we can be profoundly touched because we can imagine the confusion, the exhilaration, and the pain. The Gospel can be told through the eyes of Jesus' mother. Mary is there when the angel announces that Jesus is conceived and that she will bear the Son of God. She is there to bear the brunt of rejection, ridicule, and misunderstanding after Jesus is conceived. Mary is there when Jesus is born and placed in a manger far away from home. She is there when Shepherds come and announce to them what the angels had said. She is there when the Magi come from far away bringing gifts for the King of the Jews. She is there on the journey to Egypt to preserve her son's life. She is there when they move into a carpenter's shop in Nazareth. She is there when Jesus is found in the Temple because he had to be in his Father's house. She is there when he turns the water into wine. She is there when all the family thinks he is crazy because he spends all his time curing and helping and teaching strangers. Mary is there ... She is even there at the Cross, as John tells us, and she is there at the empty tomb and she is there at Pentecost.
Mary becomes our eyes and our heart. If we let her, she can open for us the emotions of loving Jesus and being bewildered at his greatness and crushed with his pain and overjoyed at his victory. But thankfully, Mary is not alone. Beside her, and in addition to her, are several other women who stay with her and love her son in a way they love no other. Each of them has a story to tell about Jesus almost as rich as her own. While a few share her name, all of them share her pain. So instead of Mary agonizing alone, she takes this journey with others who help her bear it and share with her in the joy and glory of her boy who was also God's Son.

Today's Prayer

Father, thank you that I can see Jesus' story through the eyes of real people who loved him, who suffered with him in his agony, and who rejoiced in his victory. Forgive me when I have tried to go about my walk alone. Lead me to the followers of Jesus who can help me shoulder my load, who can rejoice with me in your victories, and who I can bless because we all love your Son, Jesus. In his name, my Lord and Savior, I pray. Amen.

Today's Verses in Context

At noon the whole country became dark. This darkness continued for three hours. At about three o'clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" This means, "My God, my God, why have you left me alone?" Some of the people standing there heard this. The people said, "He is calling Elijah." Quickly one of the people ran and got a sponge. That person filled the sponge with vinegar and tied the sponge to a stick. Then he used the stick to give the sponge to Jesus to drink from it. But the other people said, "Don't bother him (Jesus). We want to see if Elijah will come to save him." Again Jesus cried with a loud voice. Then he died. When Jesus died, the curtain in the temple was torn into two pieces. The tear started at the top and tore all the way to the bottom. Also, the earth shook and rocks were broken. All the graves opened, and many of God's people that had died were raised from death. Those people came out of the graves. After Jesus was raised from death, those people went into the holy city (Jerusalem), and many people saw them. The army officer and the soldiers guarding Jesus saw this earthquake and everything that happened. They were very afraid and said, "He really was the Son of God!" Many women were standing away from the cross, watching. These were the women that followed Jesus from Galilee to care for him. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of James and John were there.

Matthew 27:45-56

Related Scripture Readings

Joseph put Jesus' body in a new tomb (grave) that Joseph had dug in a wall of rock. Then he closed the tomb by rolling a very large stone to cover the entrance. After he did these things, Joseph went away. Mary Magdalene and the other woman named Mary were sitting near the tomb.

Matthew 27:60-61

The day after the Sabbath day was the first day of the week. At dawn on the first day, Mary Magdalene and the other woman named Mary went to look at the tomb. At that time there was a very strong earthquake. An angel of the Lord came from the sky. The angel went to the tomb and rolled the stone away from the entrance. Then the angel sat on the stone. The angel was shining very bright like lightning. His clothes were white like snow. The soldiers guarding the tomb were very afraid of the angel. They shook with fear and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, "Don't be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus, the one that was killed on the cross.

Matthew 28:1-5

I can do what I want with my own money. Are you jealous because I am good {to those people}?' "So the people that have the last place now will have the first place in the future. And the people that have the first place now will have the last place in the future."

Matthew 20:15-16

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About This Devotional

What Jesus Did is a one-year devotional guide through the gospels, using one short passage each day and following the Gospel in consecutive order. Each devotional consists of a passage, reflection and a prayer which opens up the day's scripture and shows how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware.

Easy-to-Read Version copyright © 2001 by World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.