Jesus says we are to have faith—great faith. But, even faith that is the size of mustard seed is rewarded.
Having faith, in Jesus, begins with the greatest reward of all—receiving forgiveness and being given a new heart and fresh start.
But, faith is more than an initial one-off step, it is an ongoing walk. Our faith is not to be neglected, says Jesus, but to be put into practice. Our faith walk continues by being faithful with a few things that leads to being trusted with many, or greater, things.
We can learn a lot about faithfulness from the women who stood at the cross.
Many women were there, watching from a distance.Matthew 27:55
They saw Jesus refuse the narcotic-laden drink given to prisoners to deaden pain before crucifixion. They watched as soldiers drove nails through flesh and struggled to lift the wooden cross with Jesus’ body on it. They observed these men divide up Jesus’ clothes, gambling over his best garment.
They read the accusation “King of the Jews”, written out and placed above Jesus’ head. They contemplated the criminals crucified with their Lord, and how Jesus offered the greatest reward of all, new life even at the very end of life.
They listened as the leaders and teachers of the religious law, and other townsfolk who passed by, mocked and made fun of Jesus, shouting insults and taunts at him.
They noticed Jesus lean down and whisper to his mother Mary, and to his disciple John, who stood beneath the cross.
They pulled their shawls around their shoulders as the sky became dark for many hours. They held each other when the ground shook.
Then Jesus shouted out: “My God, my God, why have you deserted me?” and they watched the commotion—someone scurried away and grabbed a sponge, filling it with sour vinegary wine, and offered it on a stick for Jesus to drink. But, it was over. It is finished. Jesus breathed his last and died.
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, Joanna, Salome and others we don’t know the names of, came with Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem. Perhaps the group included the sisters, Mary and Martha.
Jesus had healed them, delivered them from terrors, and given them dignity. He had given them a new heart and a fresh start.
They had learned from his teaching and the great works he had done. He had shown God’s power and authority in his actions: controlling nature, overcoming disease, banishing evil spirits, and transforming lives—theirs included.
These women, along with the twelve disciples, accompanied Jesus during his work in Galilee and beyond. They cared for his needs, and supported and strengthened Jesus’ ministry out of their own financial means.
In Hebrew, the words “faith” and “faithfulness” mean to strengthen, support, or hold up. These women had done just that.
Now they stood by—even though Jesus’ flourishing leadership appeared a failure.
The crowds had gladly followed Jesus in Galilee and Jerusalem. They marveled seeing their family and friends healed, and enjoyed being fed, both physically and spiritually. Now they had forsaken Jesus.
And most of the disciples, his closest followers, were nowhere to be seen.
Yet, not these women. They remained quietly faithful. They did not turn their back on Jesus. They continued to be loyal, showing unwavering commitment to Jesus throughout it all.
They waited at the cross to show Jesus their last expression of care and attentiveness. They were ready to prepare his body for burial as customary in the Jewish religion.
“Well done…You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Jesus proclaimed about good and faithful servants.
Jesus chose these women over everyone else to reveal he had defeated death.
Imagine their elation when he spoke to them, and they touched him.
They were given the task of telling others the wonderful news: He has risen from the dead.
And so we learn:
- While others might question or forsake Jesus, faithfulness to him is rewarded.
- When you feel like you are among the few in your world—your friends and family—who are committed to Jesus, faithfulness is rewarded.
- When you are faithful in a few things, you can be put in charge of bigger things.
- When you make faithfulness a way of life, you too can know joy.
Use this prayer to renew your faithfulness to Jesus:
Increase my faith
today, tomorrow, and every day.
I ask for faith that will move mountains
in my life and the lives of others.
I want to be faithful to you
in the small things and the big things
you ask me to do.
Let me know afresh the joy
of knowing you as my Savior
and of sharing the good news
of your saving grace
with those around me.
Title image: Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash