Do you ever wonder where Jesus is in the midst of your fear? Perhaps you know He has called you out into the unknown, a place of ministry or service that is out of your comfort zone, and not a small amount of anxiety accompanies you. You may wonder if God has left you to face your fear of the unknown on your own. Let me share a story with you today.
“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, and going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men” (Matthew 28:1-4, NIV).
I’m here to tell you, if Roman guards passed out, you better believe I would have. These girls were scared.
“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.” Now I have told you'”(Matthew 28:5-7).
The girls had been commissioned. They had an assignment: Go and tell the disciples that Jesus has risen and that He is going ahead of them into Galilee where they will see Him. If you skip ahead in the narrative, you will see that once they got to Galilee, Jesus had a commission for all of them:
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age'” (Matthew 28:16-20).
Jesus had a pretty important assignment ahead: the Great Commission. These ladies had been told that Jesus was going ahead of them from Jerusalem to Galilee, a 65-mile journey. Their job was to tell the disciples to head on out because Jesus was going to meet them there. We know from another account in the Gospels (John 20) that Peter and John were told right away. Perhaps they were already nearby. So the girls set out to fulfill the call Jesus had given them: to tell all the rest.
“So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. ‘Greetings,’ he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me'” (Matthew 28:8-10).
Did you get that? His plan was to go ahead of them all to Galilee, but Jesus made a pit stop. He turned back to encourage these women in their fear. And for the second time, they were told, “Do not be afraid.” You see, even an angel sent from God couldn’t calm all their fears; but the presence of the Prince of Peace surely could.
I wonder if these ladies feared the Jews, the Pharisees, the Romans, or even the reactions of the disciples themselves. I wonder if they feared their own inability and insufficiency. Did they fear what they would say? Were they worried about how they would be received?
I have felt all of these fears. And yet in the midst of my fears, Jesus will show up in the most unexpected places and say, “Don’t be afraid. Just go where I send you. Say what I tell you. I’ll meet you right there.”
Do you ever wonder where Jesus is in the midst of your fears? When He calls you out into the unknown to serve Him in ways you haven’t known or to trust Him at levels you haven’t climbed? I’ll tell you where He is. He’s out ahead of you, making the way before you into your Galilee. And sister, if He senses even a hint of fear in you, He’s turning back to meet you right where you are on the road.
Your response? Fall at His feet and worship Him. Those fears will melt away, and you will rise up to go forward in your calling: knowing your Savior and making Him known.
For more about the role of women in ministry, click here.