The Women That Saturday

The place God carved out for women in the Bible’s account of Christ’s death and resurrection is astonishing. To be noticed in the scenes at all in the religious climate of their day was revolutionary. To be recorded by name, an immeasurable gift wrapped in the incarnation.

As women of Christ seeking to identify with those first female followers who were eyewitnesses of His life, parts of His ministry (Luke 8:1-3), His passion, His death, and resurrection, we try to place ourselves in the unfolding drama that has made room for our kind. Imagining what it was like to be Mary, the mother of Christ, on the lurching patch of ground near the Cross is soul-wrenching. To see your child, grown though he may be, thrashed into disfigurement, unclothed and exposed and hung by nails through the flesh of your flesh for hours on end, fighting for breath, is too much to wrap our imaginations around.The seconds must have dragged their feet like a suffering man dragging a cross.


To try to stare into the eyes of the women at the crucifixion of Christ and imagine the lung-heaving weight of their grief and the crashing of their hope is endurable only because we know the rest of the story. On the third day through the pool of a woman’s tears, the face of the risen Son of God was beheld, the sun piercing the black hole of an empty tomb.


Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?


Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.


And Jesus spoke just one little word to the woman from Magdala.




She turned and said to Him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!”


Stunningly beautiful.


Haven’t most of us imagined being her?


The account of the women over that weekend of earth-altering events doesn’t skip from the Cross to the tomb. Luke 23:56 records a single piece of information that scripts hours of silence. I’ll include the surrounding verses here so that you can see it in a loosely draped timeline:

50 Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, 51 who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. 54 It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning. 55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.
On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

24 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. (Luke 23:50-24:11 ESV)


Go with me there again: the women saw how His body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments.


Then they had to sit and wait and bide their agonizing time until the Sabbath was over so that they could tend to the deceased body of their beloved.


No work. Just wait.


Sometimes waiting is the work.


Nothing makes us sweat like waiting.


Sometimes rest is imposed on us when what we want to do more than anything on earth is work.


I’ve got to do something.


To women, there is always something to do in a catastrophe.


Fix it.


If you can’t fix it, fret over it. Flail. Demand. Make yourself heard.


But do something.


To us the answer is never do nothing.


I’m not sure womanhood had ever been put to trial more thoroughly in the Gospels than in the still shot of Luke 23:56.


I don’t want to wait and see. Let me see to it myself. Nothing mauls a sober woman’s sensibilities like staying put in a crisis.


We want to wrap things, even if they’re dead.


At our bravest and most selfless, we want desperately to bring fragrance to the pall of death and give it, if not beauty, dignity. If we cannot, we feel useless.We do not realize that our presence right there before God in the trust of our worklessness can be fragrance. It’s not in the spices and ointments. It’s in us.


It is Saturday. Not only a day in a week of seven but maybe a season in your own pain and bewilderment. Maybe something terrible has happened; that which could make many you love lose hope. Maybe it looks like God did not come through. You keep taking up for Him but He doesn’t seem to be taking up for Himself.


But you believe…because you’ve seen so much. You know God can work things for good and you volunteer almost violently for Him to use you to do it but, still, resurrection waits. Nothing you’re doing is working. Your hands are tied. You feel useless. After all, what good is a woman who’s forced to rest?


Go with me to one more scene of women. Rewind the sacred clock to the week before Christ’s death and resurrection. The place is John 11.


17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.


Moments later, that dead man came walking out of the tomb, grave clothes dangling.




You cannot fix it.


All your panting will not resuscitate it.


Resurrection is divine. We can’t help God with it. He alone can do it.


And He will. He is life. He cannot leave death well enough alone.




Tomorrow is Sunday.








48 Responses to “The Women That Saturday”

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  1. 1
    Kimmee says:

    For the past two years I have been waiting for our sons heart to heal. I told God at the beginning of the journey take him home or heal him. It has been some intense waiting for a miracle that has been like unwrapping the greatest present ever… Life. His thirteen year old body during this point in the journey is growing like Spring, and yet here is this momma… Waiting. Waiting for Gods perfect miraculous unfolding. It’s the hardest thing to do. Just wait, watch and know that the promises God has given me will be fulfilled. Thank you Beth for this beautiful post on this Saturday of waiting, pondering His gift of joy that will pour forth tomorrow! Blessings to you and your family during this Easter.

  2. 2
    TraciG says:

    Once again, thank you for being sensitive to the Spirit’s leading and communicate a well-timed word from the Lord. I have a friend in crisis who is in complete denial, and if not denial, chooses anyway to escape in order to not go through. I was just doing dishes, praying the Lord would show me what I should do. Thanks for the reminder that I don’t have to do anything… He’s already up to something. I just need to wait. Not easy. But it’s the right answer right now.

  3. 3
    christina says:

    Thank you, Beth. This encourages me regarding not just my own season of difficulty, but even more for someone I love who is barely hanging on. I “keep taking up for Him but He doesn’t seem to be taking up for Himself” in her situation. I want so badly to fix things, but you are exactly right. Resurrection is what this situation requires, and resurrection is God’s business, not mine. May He grant me grace to rest in entrusting my dear one in His hands until He turns things around. Blessed Resurrection Day to the Moore and Jones families!

  4. 4
    glenwood says:

    Thanks for the reminder that sometimes we have to wait no matter how good our intentions are or what our situation is.

  5. 5
    lynda rickey says:

    Beth, A great evangelist once said “It’s Friday now, but Sunday’s coming!” Amen and amen. Happy Easter to you and yours. Lynda

  6. 6
    Susan says:

    That was SO beautiful, Beth. Thank you and have a blessed Easter!


  7. 7
    Nancy A Craig says:

    Five years ago on Good Friday, the pain Mary felt pierced my heart in a way I can’t explain. Let me explain….raised in a Christian home, went to church 2-3 times a week, wouldn’t get married unless my future husband agreed to go to church with me, had 2 children–took them faithfully to church: taught vacation bible school, attended prayer meetings, etc…etc…

    Kids grew up, married had our grandchildren……suddenly our son gets a brain tumor and in less than a year he’s gone…..I will never forget that Good Friday….You never really FEEL the pain unless you have traveled that path…I too had to watch my son die……

    Then I remembered the promise: For God so loved the world that HE gave HIS SON………..where would we be without HIM?

    Heaven holds all for me and I’m so thankful for HIS mercy and grace…


  8. 8
    Suzie says:

    This is absolutely powerful! And such a timely Word, not just because it’s the Easter season, but because of issues that have been so devastating already this year in my extended family! I want to fix things, but the waiting is the hardest part of all!!! Beth, thank you so much for these powerful words!!! You have touched my heart! God bless you!!!

  9. 9
    Michele says:

    Inspite of the grim theme, I find myself smiling at “we want to wrap things even if they’re dead” (!!). “grave clothes dangling” (!!). Thanks for taking time to share with us tonight.

  10. 10
    Betty M says:

    Dearest Beth,
    He is risen just as He said! Is that great news or what! Have a blessed Easter!

  11. 11
    Colette says:

    Resting and trusting in God for His divine plan for my son too! This message was just for me! I am having to sit back and completely trust God and wait patiently to see the Miracle that is coming in my son’s life AND in many other family members lives! Thank You God, for giving us your Beautiful Son Jesus! He IS Alive!! I love you Lord!

  12. 12
    Mindy says:

    I don’t even know what to type. The fact that this was posted today, is an answer to my cry today.
    I’m in a very long “Saturday.” I have felt so useless. I’ve done all I can, and God just said wait. So I’ve been waiting and waiting…. Waiting is work. You are so right Mrs Beth. But I can’t help God. He alone resurrects. So I will continue my wait and rest. I needed to hear this so desperately rod day. The tears are just a flowing:) Hugs and kisses to you and your family. Happy and blessed Easter, and I hope your grand babies have a blast. And I hope you do to!

  13. 13
    Lisa says:

    Weeping. Your words pierced my heart and spoke to my need. Thank you so much, Beth. I love you!

  14. 14
    Kanoa says:

    Thank you Beth, for sharing this. I needed to read it and hear it in my soul….

  15. 15
    Christine says:

    Oh, how timely this post was. I’m in the middle of waiting…and not knowing. Waiting…hoping the outcome is a good one…hoping disaster won’t strike…and more waiting. Waiting for God, because He is the one who determines the outcome. Please, I’m not ready to be Joseph-coat-of-many-colors right now and be stuck here. So I’m doing this You Version study of Elisha and it’s called “Ridiculous Faith”. I picked it because I need ridiculous faith right now.

  16. 16
    Courtney Bethany says:


  17. 17
    Rhonda says:

    This touched my heart in a way I cannot describe. I could feel myself being there. Thank you.

  18. 18
    Marjie Scheib says:

    Beautiful. We must seek peace in the waiting. We must search for grace in the waiting. We must seek His face in the waiting. Rest and focus for a new day will dawn and I will rise on eagles wings.

  19. 19
    kathy says:

    Oh Beth, it has happened again. God has confirmed a directive for me at this time through your blog post. Waiting, after praying your heart out and “doing” all you know to do is not my nature. The devotional today from Father Thomas Keatings reader read ” The spiritual sense of smell is manifested by an inner attraction for prayer, solitude and silence-to be still and wait upon god with loving attention. we experience the inner attraction of God as if he presence was a delicious odor arising from within and attracting us to him. We cannot control this perfume; we can only receive it or place ourselves in its path. It communicates itself on its own terms, when and as God wills.” Beth, thank you for ministering to us and allowing God to flow through you to help us during such challenging and unexpected times in our lives. Blessings in abundance to you and yours. It is a privilege to pray for you also dear! Sister in Christ

  20. 20
    Diana A. says:





    Thank you Beth for being GOD’s messanger to me.

  21. 21
    Sandy Bowers says:

    Beautiful. Thank you.

  22. 22
    Angela says:

    Amen. We praise the Holy Spirit speaking to us.

  23. 23
    Barb says:

    Waiting and not fixing. So hard. Waiting on God not someone else. Thank you for this beautiful post. Saturday’s are hard but Sunday’s are a blessing.

  24. 24
    Deborah Mott says:

    Waiting and useless: words you linked together twice. Sometimes waiting is the work. Agree. Thinking of JESUS identifying with women in a society that often treated them poorly and how HIS OWN people treated Him worse than worthless as they traded Jesus for Barabbas and worse…! GOD Himself treated worse than worthless! He had to wait to be vindicated. His Father’s Will defined His value yet there was a long wait for the world to get the proof of HIS DIVINE VALUE. The world scorned, crucified,… mocked Him on the Cross saying if He was Messiah to come down from there…. Incredible. He understood humility and waiting and others treating him as useless” though He was of the greatest value! He understands better than anyone ever has. Emptying HIMSELF FOR US!!!! Becoming our sin and shame and taking our death, staying on that cross so we could cross over!

    LOVED this truth: To try to stare into the eyes of the women at the crucifixion of Christ and imagine the lung-heaving weight of their grief and the crashing of their hope is endurable only because we know the rest of the story. On the third day through the pool of a woman’s tears, the face of the risen Son of God was beheld, the sun piercing the black hole of an empty tomb.

    How wonderful! BEHOLD, THE RISEN CHRIST of the third day!!! Sometimes we need the SON to pierce the black holes of despair and defeat we find ourselves in and because of HIS RESURRECTION we have hope in these places! We are promised His light and can come out of our prisons as the door is open and we can live in HIS light!

    LOVED THIS: Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?
    In our waits, do we seek JESUS? Just JESUS? That question pierced me once and continues to remind me to really seek JESUS. I was taken aback. Sometimes I seek the answer I want (to be of value when feel worthless) more than I really seek JESUS and the Father’s WILL. I had to repent. Mary was seeking JESUS and it is precious!

    I love that we are told to rest: “rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the command.” We are allowed and expected to rest despite what we think needs doing; sometimes we are not the ones that can really do it anyway. Some things ONLY GOD can do. Our rest shows our faith and obedience at times maybe more than doing?
    Thanks for sharing. I have been waiting MANY years for many things. Big things. I told my husband this morning, before reading this tonight, I believe the LORD is saying WAIT some more. I have not liked the wait. But when it is His TIME, usually things happen that amaze us. He is the RESURRECTION and LIFE. He waited and did the Father’s WILL perfectly and there were many waits in Jesus LIFE. It must have pained Him to wait while Mary and Martha languished at Lazarus’s death…so many times Jesus was misunderstood in the waiting. He is so perfect yet was treated as worse than useless! He has modeled “waiting” so perfectly! We know the rest of the story: EVERY KNEE WILL BOW TO JESUS AND EVERY TONGUE WILL CONFESS THAT HE IS LORD!!!!
    Thanks for sharing. His Truth stands.

  25. 25
    Michelle says:

    I have been stuck in a
    Osition of waiting on something for three years. It is a long, drawn out, painful, terrible situation. I wait, i wait, and i wait. Sometimes it feels like i do nothing but wait for the Lord to deliver me from this situation. The days go by so faith waxes and wains. Its hard. But i still wait, in the hope that someday my Sunday will come too.

  26. 26
    Nancy says:

    Thank you for this! Your words are so timely for me and blessings on you and yours.
    Love you so!

  27. 27
    Diana says:

    This was amazing for me today. I am a runner. I have my second marathon coming up on May 4 and I have developed tendinitis and a possible stress fracture with an MRI on Tuesday. In the two weeks since this started, I have been to 3 different doctors and multiple therapy sessions….all of which we can’t afford. Why? Because I need to feel like I am doing something. Like, I am making progress and have a plan. Sigh. I need to rest. Be still with God and trust that He will get me through my marathon on two feet. Maybe I’ll cancel a couple of those appointments that I have this week.

  28. 28
    Warm In Alaska says:

    Thanks for sharing, Beth. Loved it.

    I was struck this year that the question which set everything in motion: God to Adam, “Where are you?” is finally, finally taken care of, and when the dust has settled and they’ve waited through their Saturday-of-grief, Mary of Magdala shows up and He asks her, “Whom are you seeking?” It’s like two puzzle pieces that fit together perfectly. I love her response: “…tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” The price paid. The curse broken. From one Garden to another.

  29. 29
    Lynne Henkel says:

    Dear Beth, thank you for this post, God has used your words to once again provide peace and confirmation of His word for me. I have been in a season of “firm no” for (what feels like) quite a while. I felt like I have had to keep striving, keep pushing, keep doing the “leg work”…becoming discontent, weary, and oh so tired!! Lisa Harper’s words of the four different kind of rests from her Hebrews study kept creeping up in my soul. But my mind wouldn’t let me accept it was okay to just rest and let God do His part, even after watching Him so clearly provide for me over and over since January. I felt I was overwhelmingly disappointing to my Savior, not doing enough and condemnation creeping in. In some ways my obedience waning, which isn’t a surprise when I was feeling like a spoiled brat, “if you won’t follow through on Your promises how I think you should, then I won’t get on my knees at night. I will just pray lying in bed. And I won’t get up early and spend time in Your Word, I will sleep in instead”. Mind you, I have already stated God has provided for me this year in ways the glory could only be given to Him. I am in need of some divine discipline! Last night crawling into bed I thought to myself “I am just going to stop striving for a little while and see what He does”… Even as the words were floating around in my head the devil started the familiar song “But you are supposed to STRIVE”, and I know the Bible says that. Oh you tricky enemy, using twisted truth to tell your lies!! I am confident I am to strive for and towards Christ, but I don’t always have to strive to push God to do His part!  So, I am going get back on my knees, be more disciplined with Bible study, and pray about waiting for my resuscitation season and I know it is coming because Sunday always follows Friday!! Amen!!

  30. 30

    I face the waiting times more often than I would like. I guess we all do. I wrote a little about this in my latest novel, Journey to an Untamed Land. While a mission to the Osages is being built on the prairie(today’s Oklahoma), young teacher Clarissa Johnson must wait at a boarding house in Little Rock. She is caught between the heartache she left behind in New England in a place of doubt, homesickness and fear. But she learns some valuable lessons in that waiting room.

  31. 31
    Esther Vega says:

    For a quick fixer, waiting is death. I am praying that my husband will have a personal experience with the Lord, and waiting for God’s works in his life takes a toll every day in my life.
    I feel so blessed, that the Lord chose to deliver the news, first, about His resurrection to women. Yes, the emotional one. Yes, the probably ones that talk to much. Yes, the ones whose word were not valid, for the law, as witness and became the first witness. We, women were the first witness of an event that change many people life!!! The cross was important but His resurrection….
    “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 1Cor 15:55

  32. 32
  33. 33
    Ruby says:

    God has been trying to tell me this for a long time, but it took you to pound it in my soul, mind, heart. Thank you, Beth.

  34. 34
    Diane says:

    Oh Beth, such timely words to read!! You have no idea how much comfort it’s brought me in this moment. Thank you again!

  35. 35
    Ruthanne says:


    I so much love the way you wrote this. I felt it, saw it, wept over it.

    I also want to thank these amazing ladies for the honesty. Easter was yesterday. My heart is still in it. I feel like I’ve been with sisters after reading through their replies. At one point, I thought I could be looking at my twin in the heart, saying all the same prayers I have prayed for my son.

    I want to thank you all. I will look forward to reading more. God Bless!

  36. 36
    Melany says:

    Thank you for this! It is exactly where I am right now, and I’m convinced the Holy Spirit led you to post this and me to read it.

  37. 37
    Elisabeth says:

    AGH!!! Love love love this so much!! Perfect, as usual!

  38. 38
    Melissa Ford says:

    What a great Word for those of us….grin….myself included who need to allow their husband to lead and to wait for him to make a decision in his time…not because I am manipulating and pressuring him.

  39. 39
    Shannon says:

    These last two post you have written have been like you are reading my mail. You bless me so very much. Woman enough and waiting, my husband of 15 years is trying to decide if he wants to stay married or not. Your post are the reinforcement my foundation was needing today. I know my God has got this and I must stay strong in the Truth, through what seemed like the test of a life time. I only wish this would not affect our two children who are 12 and 7. I know this is TMI, but if sharing this could bless someone else so be it.
    Much love

  40. 40
    heather g says:

    That was just beautiful writing.
    I love you so.

  41. 41
    Annette Gibson says:

    Beth, I’m several days late reading your blog but the timing is God ordained. I’m weeping and thanking God for using use to bless, encourage, just simy minster to me in my waiting. God bless you!

  42. 42
    Ellen Miller says:

    I am blessed by this post. The Lord has had me in a very long season of waiting. I see Sunday coming…and its going to be beautiful.
    Keep doing what you do, Beth!!!

  43. 43
    Kristi L says:

    Dear Beth,
    I am playing catch up. I want to say those were wonderful words I just read. Ladies, please take them to heart and believe them. I waited 6 yrs for a prodigal son to find his way back home to his Father. For the first two I fretted, ached, cried, talked, prayed(you notice what place this falls), schemed, etc. Little by little I began to relinquish my son to God and pray for him and wait. I waited in the hope that God loved him best and knew what it would take. I began to pray for Him to do whatever it would take (the most frightening prayer ever). God warned me through His Spirit it would take jail. Two weeks later we received word from a family member he was in a jail right by us. I trusted God to protect him and mold him. I saw him twice and rejoiced at the opportunity to see my son only to have him refuse us any more visits. Despair wanted to creep in but I know God is faithful. I waited and prayed. He was released and behaved worse than when he went in. God, what are you doing? Where are you? You told me jail would work. He had told me He would use jail. This past December- out of the blue- this son asked to meet with my husband and I. He asked forgiveness, repented and most importantly, bowed his knee to the Father and asked His forgiveness. He is a son changed from the inside out and restored to both families! Sisters, never give up on lost loved ones or in difficult situations. Trust God knows and is working. Even when it seems so dark and the waiting is so hard and you cannot wrap your mind around it, be patient and live in peace with your Lord. To Him be all the glory. Kristi

  44. 44
    Pamela Houston says:

    I am late in reading this powerful post…and fixed upon the truth of the good things that come to those who wait. The women who were the first at the Tomb of our Risen LORD, they knew something about waiting…when waiting produces wondering, when waiting requires a little wrestling with GOD, and finally waiting births a wisdom in us, and then the full fruit of waiting occurs, worship of our Risen LORD! He is sovereign, He is in control and He is working out all the waiting to our good and to His glory! Wait and see and then taste and see that the LORD, He is good! Thanks again beautiful Beth, for blessing us with a first hand encounter as seen through women’s eyes…We worship our One and Only! I have to say this Easter Holy Week was the most powerful and timely Easter week in my 58 year walk with the LORD…from experiencing a Passover Meal recreated from the time of Jesus on the Blood Moon Monday, to experiencing a very contemplative and reflective Maunday Thursday Communion Service, then seeing a spontaneous baptism of around 40 at a 3:00pm Saturday afternoon service that focused on Heaven (over 1000 present) to a powerful Resurrection Day service that filled our hearts with love and joy…and then a big fellowship meal at friends home, this Easter season has been joy unspeakable and full of glory, like no other! Plus the fact that the dates of this celebration occurred on a “Pallendrome week” from 4-10-14 through 4-19-14 (numbers reading the same from forwards and backwards) “God sightings” have abounded! Waiting has produced worship!

  45. 45
    Monica T Smith says:

    “Sometimes waiting is the work.” It is the hardest part of serving/being a disciple, and I never thought of my simply waiting as a fragrance to Him. Now if He would just call my name…what a healing balm that would be!

    Thank you for the simplicity of this message.

  46. 46
    Sharon J. says:

    Powerful! The wait is as much a part of the answer… as the actual answer is. The waiting is a key component. Wow! In my helplessness of waiting where I can do nothing my Lord and Savior is working. What a great picture as I wait for adult children to turn to the Lord. He has this! My waiting is part of the whole picture of answered prayer! Thank you Lord! Thank you Miss Beth! Blessings on you and yours!

  47. 47
    Lora says:

    What comforting and reassuring examples to be reminded of. Thanks so much!

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