To me this is one of the great passages of the Bible.
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.
Here we see the start of many things – Jesus’ vindication regarding all that he said about himself; the start of the resurrection life that begins with him and flows on to us through faith in his death on the cross; the start of the spreading of this good news a little beyond these verses as these women go off to announce that Jesus is alive.
It’s interesting that these women were the first to witness Jesus’ rising from death. In Jesus’ day, the testimony of women was not highly regarded. In fact, in Jewish culture, women were not generally authorized to be witnesses in the judicial courts. Similarly, the patriarchal system of the wider Greco-Roman culture devalued and disparaged the word of women. If the resurrection story was a fabrication, (as some suggest to this day) then, surely, the architects of the tale would have chosen men to be these crucial witnesses. But the account is true, and God chose women!
The resurrection narratives show that God is doing an altogether new thing through the risen Christ, and that this new thing will involve the transformation of all things, including the value placed on certain members of society by those holding the power under the world’s systems.
The women come to the tomb prepared to apply spices to the lifeless and battered body of Jesus. But they are surprised by what they see and what they hear from the angel figures there. Then they remember Jesus’ words that he spoke about himself – about his journey to Jerusalem, being handed over to die then rising again.
Like these women we can easily forget to remember the words Jesus spoke. Many of his words are recorded for us in the 4 gospel biographies. They inform us about him, his father God, the kingdom of God, ourselves and how to live wisely in this world and in his kingdom. Let’s not forget Jesus’ words by living closely with them every day and remembering them always.
Head: Do you have difficulty believing in the resurrection of Jesus? If so, do you know where to go to get help in further examining all the available evidence?
Heart: How might Jesus dwell more richly in your heart – your inner person?
Hands: What steps can you start this week to have more of Jesus’ words easily remembered and better able to be recalled when needed?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father I thank you for this account and the way in which it still speaks to us down through the ages. I thank you for these women who believed and then spread the good news of Jesus’ resurrection. I thank you that I have been a beneficiary of their passing on this good news to the somewhat sceptical group of his disciples.
Please help us Father to remember all that Jesus spoke about himself and you that we might be accurate witnesses to his life, death and glorious resurrection.
A song to listen to: Raised With Christ