Americans love heroes. We love to root for people who succeed in the face of adversity. Our love for sports superstars is an example. But the Bible points out that the unknown little guy is often more deserving of our admiration.
Three little guys are found at the end of Mark 15. If we were to pick out the heroes in any of the Gospels, we wouldn’t pick these folks. The most well-known and respected people in these books are men like Peter, James, and John. These men would form the foundation of the church and were very close to the Lord (Eph 2:20).
But with the death of Christ, the disciples are nowhere to be found. They have abandoned the Lord. They are understandably afraid of what being associated with Him may mean for them. They don’t want to suffer the same fate He did at the hands of the Jewish and Roman authorities.
At the same time, we see another trio who overcome that fear and step forward to make known their association with the One who was crucified. One is a man who has not even been mentioned before in the book. His name is Joseph. We are told that he was “waiting for the kingdom of God” and clearly believed that Jesus is the Christ. Two women, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses, are also listed. These women are also believers and earlier in the book had only been mentioned in passing.
Joseph takes considerable risk in asking for the body of the Lord after He died, going to the very powerful man who ordered His crucifixion to do so. The women also place themselves in danger by going to anoint His body. It was a very unpleasant task. His body had been horribly mistreated. They go to the grave on Sunday, after the Lord had lain there since Friday.
I often wonder what made them do such things, and why they would have placed themselves in the position they did. Didn’t the death of Christ show them that their faith had been misplaced? I don’t know what was going through their minds. They must have had a number of questions. Was He the Christ? How could He die? Would He rise in the last days and lead the nation into the kingdom? Would there be another Christ who would bring political salvation to the nation, and Jesus would rise to work together with him?
I cannot imagine how their faith was shaken. I assume that they were like the believing thief on the cross. That thief believed that Jesus is the Christ and was going to bring in the kingdom, even though He was about to die. The thief didn’t have all the answers. In fact, he certainly had more questions than answers. But he believed. He would let the King work out the details. Evidently, Joseph and the two Marys were in the same boat. Even with their questions, they served the Lord. There were things they didn’t understand, but they remained faithful to Him.
These three unknowns were a rebuke to the heroes in Mark’s Gospel. The disciples had their questions too, but they had run away. Which group here merits our commendation?
All of us who want to serve the Lord find times in our lives when we have questions. There are things we don’t understand. We look at some of the things the Lord said and are perplexed. In such moments, maybe we even think we are nobodies, and our work for Him doesn’t really matter. After all, if we were heroes of the faith, we would have the answers to the questions we ask.
Joseph and the two Marys teach us otherwise. As they went about their dangerous and unpleasant tasks on that weekend, surely it entered their minds that maybe it wasn’t worth it all. But they were faithful. They honored the Lord even when all the pieces of the puzzle did not fit like they thought they should. We little guys can be just like them. We can be faithful too. We can follow their example.
Let’s hear it for us little guys.