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
As we celebrate International Women's Day this week, it makes me think of the importance of women in scripture. One of my favourite passages is the story of the women at the tomb. After Jesus's crucifixion, in the various gospels, there were accounts of women, including Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James, Joanna and others, who brought spices with the intention of preparing Jesus's body, and visited His tomb. Upon arrival, they have discovered that the large stone that had been used to block the entrance had been rolled away and that the tomb was empty. At first, they believed that someone had taken Jesus's body and were distraught.
Angels appear and speak to the women to explain Jesus's resurrection, and asked that the women help deliver the news to the disciples. In the book of John, it was noted that Jesus even appeared to Mary Magdalene first to show that He has indeed risen.
There are several popular themes that Christians have noted in reading the passages of this story. First, it shows the faithfulness and devotion of the women to Jesus. Even though He has died, the women had stayed with Him through His ordeal and even after His death, continuing to serve Him. This is in contrast with the disciples who had deserted Him. Second, it is not lost on those reading the passages that one of the most important moments in Christianity -- the resurrection-- was first witnessed by women. Women were the first informed of His resurrection and also asked to deliver the news to others. Even though in those time periods, women's testimonies were not well regarded, women were indeed chosen to be the bearer of this important news, demonstrating how valued and important women's role and actions were in God's eyes.
In reading these passages, we can learn faithfulness from these women. The stories also show that regardless of how society or the times may have viewed individuals, God has a role for us and has plans for us. He will use our gifts and abilities even when we may not be accustomed to these roles. When we show our devotion and dedication to Him, He in turn is present for us and will reveal Himself to us. Sometimes we do not recognize Him, just as Mary Magdalene did not at first. But rest assured, He is here.
Reflection: Read the story of the women at the tomb in books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. How are the accounts different and what does each of them tell you that gives you a new insight to the narrative that is apart from the other accounts?
Women at Jesus's empty tomb is this week's devotional study focus, as we celebrate International Women's Day. Calm Christian Music offers weekly devotional blogs, along with worship music channels to help you on your journey in your faith.