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In my Bible study this morning, I was ready for Luke, chapter 23. In the middle of the solemn and sad scenes of the Crucifixion, something popped out. I’d missed it before—“the women” in the story.
“But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things” (v. 49). “And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid” (v. 55 NKJV).
Who were these women, I wondered, who followed Him from Galilee? The margin referred me back to Luke 8:1, 2. “And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, and certain women. . . Mary called Magdalene. . . and Joanna. . . and Susanna, and many others which ministered unto him of their substance” (KJV).
Matthew 27:55 says, “And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar.”
It fascinates me that a large group of single and married women chose to go on this mission trip with Jesus and His disciples. It may have been a walk of more than 80 miles, with who knows what other privations along the way.
Then I found a clue as to why these women were so into ministering to Jesus. Luke 8:2 says, “and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities. . .”
This special group of women had been healed by Jesus. Out of grateful hearts they gladly ministered to Him and His disciples. Here is the key! When we are filled with the right spirit—rather than an evil spirit—and when our sin-sick souls find healing, we too will be ready to minister as were those precious women of old. Jesus did not ordain these women as He did the Twelve Disciples (Mark 3:14), but they were able to minister!
The Scriptures give warnings and examples of those who have wanted to minister but did not have the right spirit. Foremost was Lucifer, God’s Light Bearer and Covering Cherub. Lucifer allowed the evil spirit of discontent to fill his heart as he strove for a higher position than God had given him. That is the sad story of how all sin began.
Eve also had the spirit of discontent. “Eve had all that her wants required. . . She was perfectly happy in her Eden home by her husband’s side; but, like restless modern Eves, she was flattered that there was a higher sphere than that which God had assigned her. But in attempting to climb higher than her original position, she fell far below it. This will most assuredly be the result with the Eves of the present generation if they neglect to cheerfully take up their daily life duties in accordance with God’s plan” (Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 483).
Miriam also had the spirit of discontent in her ministry. “In the affections of the people and the honor of Heaven she stood second only to Moses and Aaron. But the same evil that first brought discord in heaven sprang up in the heart of this woman of Israel, and she did not fail to find a sympathizer in her dissatisfaction. . . Regarding themselves as equally favored by God, they felt that they were entitled to the same position and authority. Yielding to the spirit of dissatisfaction, Miriam found cause of complaint in events that God had especially overruled. . . And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them. . . This manifestation of the Lord’s displeasure was designed to be a warning to all Israel, to check the growing spirit of discontent and insubordination” (Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 382-385).
Pondering this, I realized that if I minister, I must have the right spirit. The Holy Spirit! I want Jesus to take out any evil spirit I might have in my heart. I want to be filled with the holy spirit and have my sin sick soul healed. I want to join the ranks of “the many women” down through time who truly minister to Jesus.
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Gerita Liebelt lives with husband Lonny near Libby, Montana. She has been a teacher and nurse, among other things. The Liebelts have served in the Carolinas, Indiana, California, Wyoming, Washington, and Montana.