We talked about how God’s light is able to shine through cracked jars.
Beautiful: I’ve heard multiple stories from this past week about people coming together, being vulnerable, and being amazed at how God is able to work when we uncover our faces, and are real with each other.
I’m not quite ready to move on.
A pastor is someone who lives their life slow enough to notice what God is doing between God and man. And so as a pastor, if you would allow me to be that for you, I feel like God is wanting us to grow in our ability to be there for each other.
Disclaimer: “Don’t overshare.”
Connection is hard.
Our culture: preserve dignity at all costs.
Knee surgery – gown with no back
Women – given birth
I don’t know how many of you have ever experienced having someone you deeply love and being close to them when they’re in a season of life where you’re caring for them, where they’re at a place where they weren’t able to preserve their dignity.
Only in the last 3 years
Uniquely difficult place – holding onto dignity – not going to happen.
We’re programmed to keep our dignity even when we’re not good in so many ways.
Our text for the week – about 2 women
2 women that I bet, you’ve never heard of before.
I’ve asked people.
- A poll – Heard of : “Salomi”
- A poll – who’s head of “Mary of Clopas”?
2 Salomi’s – gospel of mark. 1 is herod’s daughter – who dances. – Dance of the 7 seals.
Another – only appears in Mark 15 & 16 – when Jesus is crucified & when the women come to the tomb where Jesus was buried. Not making them up.
I believe these are unsung hero’s of the faith. I promise they’re in there, i’m not making it up.
ONLY thing we know about them is that they’re present during Jesus’s last breaths on the cross.
Last gasps of air – and how uniquely undignified Jesus must have been during that time.
Most awful moments of his life.
OF COURSE : Men – Left
OF COURSE – the men – all but John – had left to have some sort of quarter life crisis. Went fishing. BTW one reason we know John stayed – so happy to tell us in his gospel.
- Points out he ran faster than peter to the tomb
- One disciple of them all who stayed around.
Besides John – Only these women stood by Jesus not only when he was losing his life, but when he was losing his dignity.
And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. (Mark 15:33)
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)
And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” (Mark 15:35)
And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” (Mark 15:36)
And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. (Mark 15:37)
And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. (Mark 15:38)
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!” (Mark 15:39)
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. (Mark 15:40)
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. (Mark 15:41)
So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, (John 19:16)
and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. (John 19:17)
There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. (John 19:18)
Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” (John 19:19)
Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. (John 19:20)
So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’ ” (John 19:21)
Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” (John 19:22)
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, (John 19:23)
so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things, (John 19:24)
but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. (John 19:25)
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” (John 19:26)
Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:27)
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” (John 19:28)
A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. (John 19:29)
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)
Amazing – you have these 2 women – one mentioned in mark and the other in John that will be remembered forever in Holy scripture for no other reason than they waited with Jesus during the worst moments of his life.
- Mark : “Salome”
- John : “Mary of Clopas” ≠ Conflict
I don’t find that to be in conflict, simply that Salome would have some recognition to Mark’s audience and Mary of Clopas was known to John’s audience.
The bible doesn’t say much about these women, but church history & extra-biblical texts tells us SOME more about them.
You can see salome referred to as ‘Salome the Disciple’.
We don’t know much about her. Salome was actually a very common name back then.
Some people believe that Jesus had a sister named salome. Matthew 13 mentions Jesus’s sisters’. IF that’s true, I don’t tend to think this is her.
Some church history speaks of an encounter she has with Jesus after his resurrection similarly to Mary Magdiline.
2nd: Mary of Clopas
Translation in greek is tricky.
Some bibles will say: Mary OF Clopas, Mary wife of Clopas, some have believed it to be Mary the mother of clopas as opposed to the wife.
Hard to know, but popular opinion is that it was Mary wife of Clopas, so I tend to go with that.
We know more about her because Clopas is a very unusual name.
Clopas is the brother of Jesus’s earthly father, Joseph.
In a way, he would be Jesus’s UNCLE.
Mary – AUNT.
Clopas and Mary will have a son who’s very significant – Simon/Simeon.
Take over for James, the brother of Jesus. – Pastor the jerusalem church when James is martyred around 62AD.
Church history tells us that he lived to 120 before he’s martyred.
Interesting that Jesus’s biological family in the early church would play a very significant role in church leadership.
Here’s what we do know
Here’s what we do know: these two women were there for Jesus when everybody else left.
I just keep thinking about how amazing that is.
If you’re remembered for 1 thing – ‘Stayed with Jesus till the end.’ is not bad.
When everyone else left.
There’s nothing that they can do for Jesus. Offer him no answers. They don’t fix the problem.
They’re just present with him during this incredibly intimate time.
These women, as horrible as it is, saw Jesus mocked, spat upon, his beard plucked out, whipped.
They saw Jesus’s final gasp for air on the cross..
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3)
These are women who didn’t run when Jesus was in a horribly vulnerable place.
Funny: You think that people in your life don’t appreciate the things you do for them?
- I cleaned the house and you didn’t even notice!!!
- I bought you this gift and you didn’t even say thank you!!!
How funny/sad it is to see Jesus on the cross dying for the these people, and they can’t even be bothered to be there. Fishing!
My point: They comforted Jesus in a way no one else did.
Think about what this moment must have been like for Jesus.
He KNEW his disciples were going to abandon him.
- Peter – deny.
- Judas – betray.
What do you think it means for Jesus when he’s in the most unbelievable agony of his life and he knows everybody has left. EXCEPT for these women.
There were people who loved him enough to stay even though there’s nothing they could DO.
One thing that just totally awful about being a Christian. – We’re surrounded by people who suffer, and have desperate needs, and we love them and care for them, but have NO idea what to do.
- If there was a chore to do, you’d do it.
- If there was something you could cook that would help, you’d cook it.
One reason – church meal plans.
Has there ever been someone around you, that was hurting and you wanted to help, but there was just nothing you could do in a way that made you not show up. Anyone ever been there?
Sometimes you just wanna stay home, b/c extreme suffering just makes everything awkward.
In a hospital room when someone is gasping for air. – I don’t think I should be here!
If I knew something to do, I’d do it.
But it means something to go to someone who’s hurting and just BE with them.
When there’s nothing you can do.
(When Ryan killed himself) – My mom left the bacon cooking.
I believe, that in these last moments of Jesus’s life – that there had to be some comfort found in looking over and seeing these few people who were with him.
Some of the most powerful ministry that you and I will EVER do, is to simply sit with someone when you have nothing to say, but you simply have the love to say ‘I’m gonna stay here with you till the end.’
I don’t know how this is gonna turn out. But I’m here.
Doesn’t have to be the most supremely serious stuff.
Me – group – supporters. Me and my group of supporters. When it comes to preaching. Very rarely do they have anything meaningful to contribute but they’re with me and I invite them in. It’s not so bad when you’re not there by yourself.
We all need those people in our lives.
We have to fight this tendency in ourselves that if we don’t know how to help, then we might as well check out.
There’s times when you just feel so stupid. – What am I doing here right now? So awkward that it’s paralyzing.
Wow, I’m here and I have nothing to say.
2 Henri Nouwen Quotes
Famous – really profound. – In his book wounded healer:
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” (Henri J.M. Nouwen)
There might be part in you that doesn’t like that.
I’m a word of faith preacher – I have all the answers. People come to me to answers. I need to have the right council, the right wisdom. Or at least sometimes I think they do.
But I’m learning that when people are really at tough places in life, there’s no gift that we can give as powerful as our presence, and the ability to share that pain in silence. – To be able to sit there and endure the awkwardness of just sitting.
Shirley Kruse When her husband died – Don’t say anything to me except that you love me.
“Human beings can keep their sanity and stay alive so long as they know there is at least one person waiting for them.” (Henri Nouwen)
This about severe clinical depression – get to a place where you can’t envision things getting better.
Continue to be blown away at how it can heal people to see how having someone in the thick of it WITH them can change everything.
And I hope this is encouraging or inspiring, because I think there’s people who WANT to help the hurting, and you have no idea how to help. I’m no pastor. I don’t know a bunch of scripture. It doesn’t matter.
Your presence can bring healing.
Things don’t seem quite so bad when you know that there is 1 person waiting.
Knowing that there’s at least 1 person who is not going to abandon me, it’s amazing how it can give you the strength to carry on amid unimaginable pain.
A beautiful promise of Jesus is where he says ‘He will never leave us or forsake us.’
What an amazing story of these women who decided they would not forsake or abandon Jesus not matter how bad it got.
The men always come out great and the men are almost always just bozos. That’s how you know the bible is true.
The best ministry we can offer people is to be present for the hard stuff. Even when it’s awkward, even when you don’t know what to say.
There’s just a love in you that is willing to stay there and sit.
Everybody needs a handful of people in their life that they know isn’t going to leave them no matter what.
No matter how their story comes out. They’re there.
If you’re one of those people who is suffering in some way. Know this: Jesus has experienced it all. Not just physical pain, emotion pain of feeling abandoned and afraid.
If you’re at a place where you’re feeling like: God, what the heck are you up to? Are you sleeping up there?
Welcome to family. We’ve all been there.
Incredible: Jesus who was only kept company by a few to the end is the savior who by his spirit has promised to stay with us till the very end.
When no one else is willing to sit with you in the awkward, I promise you, Jesus will.
Man, if I could give you the reasons why you suffer, I would. Or maybe even a better question: When it’s gonna be done. Would you like to know that?!
Find comfort in knowing that he will be there with me all the way through. He’s present with you.
He’s present w/you
And: He wants to be present in you for others.
Like we talked about last week: I find comfort in this: even though I’m in a lot of ways IN the struggle, doesn’t mean that God can’t use you in amazing ways to help somebody else.
Pray for people in here have been in a lonely place.
Even though we understand others have been here, WE’VE never been here before.
People who just don’t know where their story is headed.
No one here has escaped your affection.
Pray for those people who have honestly wondered if you’ve abandoned them.
People who feel too far removed.