The Next Thing

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
(Mark 16:1-3)

I love these women! Let me give you a little glimpse of what they had experienced just prior to this verse. They had followed Jesus and cared for His needs (Mark 15:41); they were eye witnesses to His crucifixion (Mark 15:40); they had experienced the three hours of darkness over the whole land (Mark 15:33); they had seen the curtain of the temple torn from top to bottom (Mark 15:38); they had heard the centurion’s confession that “Surely this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39); they had felt the earth shake and had seen the rocks split (Matthew 27:51); they were at the foot of the cross and were eyewitnesses to His death (John 19:25) … and now they were confused!

Have you ever opened a 1,000 piece puzzle box and not known where to begin? I suppose these women felt much the same way! They had watched as Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’ precious body down from the cross and wrapped it in linen and laid it in the tomb. They had observed the stone being placed against the entrance. Wanting to add their touch to their Lord’s burial, they put their own spices, salves, scented oils, and perfumes together to anoint His body. They had walked with Him and saw to His needs on earth, and they were going to ceremoniously see to it that He was embalmed correctly in death. They did the very thing they knew to do.

We can learn an enormous lesson from this. Have you ever been confused and not known the “next step”? I have. A distressing phone call, a hurtful exchange with a friend, a lost job, a death, an unfaithful spouse, a rebellious child, illness–you name it, the list of struggles is endless. When we are standing at a cross-road, we learn from Scripture that is important to simply do the next thing. Abraham went out to cut wood when he was told to sacrifice his son (Genesis 22:1-3); Joseph made up his mind to make the most of his situation when he was sold into slavery by his brothers (Genesis 39:1-6); Peter went back to fishing when his Lord was crucified (John 21:3). And these women went to anoint their Lord. We do the next thing … and Jesus meets us there.

Be assured, if you are seeking to do His will, He will not let you miss it. Sometimes we just have to do the next thing. This is not always easy! It was not easy for the disciples either. Their pain and confusion was just as real as ours. Take heart, believer! Just do the next thing and Jesus will meet you there!

Take It to Heart

I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken.
(Psalm 37:25)

For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones.
(Psalm 37:28)

Wait for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land. (Psalm 37:34)

The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him. (Psalm 37:39-40)