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Women and the Resurrection

When you think about the resurrection this Easter season, remember that the New Testament emphasizes over and over the place of eye-witness testimony.  All of the evangelistic sermons in the book of Acts, even those to pagans, call the hearers to the fact of the resurrection.

“But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.” Acts 3:14-15

Remember as well, the unique role of women in the Gospel narratives.  Although we do not see them preaching in the book of Acts, the women are the first witnesses of the resurrection.  Mary Magdalene (a former demoniac), Joanna and James’ mother Mary, along with other women, were the first to find the tomb empty, and the first to hear the angelic proclamation, “He is not here, but He has risen!”

In the first century, women were not very highly regarded.  They could not even give testimony in court.  Their word was not considered as reliable as a man’s.  The Bible, however, does not follow trends of human culture and man-made reasoning.  Women are given the great honor of being the first to discover the risen Christ.  The first words of the risen Christ are to Mary.  So we find the Bible unbound by ancient views of the worth of women, and we find a reality that speaks across the ages. 

First, the Bible is not tied to the prejudices of the past.  Second, and perhaps more importantly, the Bible tells what happened, even if it weakens the case to the prevailing opinions of the time.  The Gospels do not soft-pedal or hide the testimony of these ladies.  It forthrightly sets forth their experience in spite of ancient prejudices.  That means the writers were concerned with the truth, not making up stories or shading the truth to help their case.  And is it not interesting, that we modern folks, who know better, are supported by the Gospels themselves in regarding women so highly?  We do not have a low view of women held by many ancient peoples, and we find the Scripture agrees with us about this.  The sacred word of God transcends culture and affirms the truth.  The Gospels are not myth, but fact.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Wayne Wilson

Originally printed in the Acton Faith Bible Church Pony Express. Vol. II, No. 04, April 2009. 

 

 

“Give ear and come to me, hear me, that your soul may live.”

– Isaiah 55:3