The Women in Jesus’ Life, Death and Resurrection [Part IV]

joseph of arimathea

What in the world were they thinking? Did their grief over Jesus’ death cloud their judgment? Were they acting impulsively “as women tend to do?” The women disciples in Jesus’ life were faithful and courageous followers during His life and in His death. In PART III, we left the women watching Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, both Jesus’ disciples, prepare Jesus’ body for burial with seventy-five pounds of spices and they wrapped the body with linen cloths. They placed the body in Joseph’s new tomb and rolled a giant boulder in front of the entrance [Read Mt 27:57-61, Mk. 15:42-47, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42]. Didn’t Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses [See Mark 15:47] know about the amount of spices on the body? Didn’t they remember the giant stone? Two women could not roll that stone away, could they?

sealed tomb

I believe the women did not stop and think about the obstacles in the way. Instead, they focused on their goal. That goal was to do one more kindness for Jesus by going to the tomb where Jesus’ body lay and finish the burial preparations, as was the Jewish custom. Yes, Joseph and Nicodemus did prepare Jesus’ body “on the day of Preparation, that is the day before the Sabbath” [read Mark 15:42]. Because it was almost the Sabbath, when all work had to cease, these two men might have been in a hurry to get things done, in order to place Jesus in the new tomb, on the same day Jesus died, as was the custom. The women did not act impulsively. Luke 23:55-56 records, “The women who had come with Him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how His body was laid. Then they returned [home] and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.” To these women this Sabbath rest must have felt like the longest Sabbath rest ever! But, it was worth the wait!

The women did rest on the Sabbath, but they didn’t waste any time the day after the Sabbath. All four Gospels give different details and together they paint one big picture of what happened on that awesome day!

two women

“Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary [mother of Joses] went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen as He said. Come see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and behold, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him…’ So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his [men] disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me’” [Matthew 28:1-10].

The Gospel of Mark adds a few more details and has its own uniqueness:

angels and women at empty tomb

“When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the MOTHER OF JAMES, and SALOME BOUGHT SPICES, SO THAT THEY MIGHT GO AND ANOINT HIM [JESUS]. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. AND THEY SAID TO ONE ANOTHER, ‘WHO WILL ROLL AWAY THE STONE?’ And looking up, they saw the stone had been rolled back – it was very large. AND ENTERING THE TOMB, THEY SAW A YOUNG MAN SITTING ON THE RIGHT SIDE, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said, ‘Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; He is not here. But go, tell His disciples and Peter that He is going to Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.’ AND THEY WENT OUT AND FLED FROM THE TOMB, FOR TREMBLING AND ASTONISHMENT HAD SEIZED THEM, AND THEY SAID NOTHING TO ANYONE, FOR THEY WERE AFRAID’” [Mark 16:1-8].

There are also verses in Mark [in our Bibles] that were not in the earliest manuscripts. For instance:

Jesus with Mary

“Now when He [Jesus] rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that He was alive, and had been seen by her, they would not believe it” [vv. 9-11]

TWO ANGELS IN TOMB

In Luke’s account of the Resurrection of Jesus [24:1-12], the main details are similar. On the first day of the week, the women left very early in the morning and brought spices to the tomb [v.1]. The women found the stone rolled away [v. 2] and did not find Jesus body in the tomb [v. 3]. But, instead of one angel or young man, “TWO MEN STOOD BY THEM IS DAZZLING APPAREL” [v. 4]. The two men in dazzling apparel knew the women were afraid [v. 5], so they encouraged them with these words: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how He told you, while He was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise” [vv. 5b-7]. The women did remember and returned “to the eleven disciples and all the rest” [v. 9]. In Luke’s account of the Resurrection, he identifies the women to be Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James “and other women with them who told these things to the apostles” [v. 10]. Luke wrote that THE APOSTLES DID NOT BELIEVE THE WOMEN AND SAID THAT “THESE WORDS SEEMED TO THEM AN IDLE TALE” [v. 11]. All except PETER wanted to see for himself and “ROSE AND RAN TO THE TOMB; STOOPING AND LOOKING IN, HE SAW THE LINEN CLOTHS BY THEMSELVES; AND HE WENT HOME MARVELING AT WHAT HAD HAPPENED” [v. 12]. John’s Gospel includes John and Peter running to the tomb [Read John 20:1-10].

PETER AND JOHN

What about John and his Gospel? Surely John [“the disciple whom Jesus loved”] would be able to present the events of the Resurrection of Jesus in chronological order and also tie up loose ends; wouldn’t he? It’s important to get all the facts right, isn’t it?

To be continued…

Lydia photo
Lydia

The Women in Jesus’ Life, Death, and Resurrection [Part III]

It is finished

What did Jesus’ disciples think when Jesus shouted, “‘IT IS FINISHED,’” and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”? Was this the end? Did they follow Jesus in vain? Both men and women devoted their lives to following Jesus. In Part I, we saw that women followed Jesus, as did men. The women ministered to Jesus and His men disciples in sacrificial ways. The women disciples were both faithful and generous servants and devoted and courageous followers of Jesus.

Book of Luke

“Soon afterwards He [Jesus] went on through the cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve [men disciples] were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Suzanna, and many others, who provided for them [or                                                                      Him] out of their means” [Luke 8:1-3].

women at foot of the cross

The women not only followed Jesus during His ministry on earth. We discovered in Part II that there are many Gospel passages mentioning Jesus’ women disciples witnessing His death on the cross. Mary Magdalene is mentioned throughout these Gospel passages, along with the other women who followed Jesus to His crucifixion. [Matthew 27:56-61; 28:1; Mark 15:40-47; 16:1-19; Luke 8:1-3; 24:1-12; John 19:25; 20:1-18].

In the above Scripture references, we find Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross, along with Mary the mother of James and Joseph, the mother of the sons of Zebedee, Mary the mother of Jose, Salome, Mary the mother of Jesus and His mother’s sister [just to name a few]. These women followed Jesus to a hill called Calvary, also known as Golgotha or “Place of the Skull,” where He was nailed to the cross and hung on that cross dying. Most of the men disciples were hiding, except for Peter and John, “the disciple whom [Jesus] loved” [John 18:15-18, 25-26 and 19:25-27].

Jesus body in tomb

After three long hours nailed to the cross, Jesus exclaimed, “IT IS FINISHED!” and then He beathe His  last.. What was next? The disciples would later learn what “IT IS FINISHED” really meant. First, they needed to take care of Jesus’ body.

“When evening came, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. Mary Mgdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb” [Matthew 27:57-61].

glasses on Bible

Mark identifies the other Mary as “Mary the mother of Joses” [15:47]. Luke thought it was important to record, “The women who had come with Him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how the body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested, according to the commandment” [23:55-56]. John adds, “Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight” [19:39].

Empty tomb

These disciples, both men and women, wanted to make sure the body of Jesus was laid to rest properly. The women made sure they knew where Jesus’ body was laid, so they would be able to go back after the Sabbath rest, to anoint the body with more spices. I believe they thought it would be the final time they would be able to minister to their Lord. Because the women wanted to minister to Jesus’ body for the last time, not with food but with spices, they were the first disciples to learn what Jesus meant when he said “IT IS FINISHED!”

Christ's cross defeated devil

Many times when we go to minister to others, we are also blessed.

To be continued…

My Good Side

Lydia

The Women in Jesus’ Life, Death and Rsurrection [Part II]

Crhist Synogogue Ruler

Many disciples who followed Jesus during His ministry on earth were women. We saw evidence of this in PART I, using only one short Gospel passage in Luke. The women disciples ministered to Jesus and His men disciples in sacrificial ways. The women disciples were both faithful and generous servants and devoted and courageous followers of Jesus.

“Soon afterwards He [Jesus] went on through the cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve [men disciples] were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Suzanna, and many others, who provided for them [or Him] out of their means” [Luke 8:1-3].

cross, crown, nails

Along with following Jesus during His life, there are many Gospel passages that mention Jesus’ women disciples witnessing His death on the cross. Mary Magdalene is mentioned throughout these Gospel passages, along with the other women who followed Jesus to His crucifixion. [Matthew 27:56-61; 28:1; Mark 15:40-47; 16:1-19; Luke 8:1-3; 24:1-12; John 19:25; 20:1-18].

In the above Scripture references, we find Mary Magdalene at the foot of the cross, along with Mary the mother of James and Joseph, the mother of the sons of Zebedee, Mary the mother of Jose, Salome, Mary the mother of Jesus and His mother’s sister [just to name a few]. These women followed Jesus to a hill called Calvary, also known as Golgotha or “Place of the Skull,” where He was nailed to the cross and hung on that cross dying. Most of the men disciples were hiding, except for Peter and John, “the disciple whom [Jesus] loved” [John 18:15-18, 25-26 and 19:25-27].

Christ CrucifiedChrist's burial

Why did these women follow Jesus to the cross to watch Him die? They couldn’t do anything to stop His execution. I believe they did not want Jesus to die alone, surrounded by those who hated Him. The women disciples loved Jesus so much that they wanted to be with Him during His darkest hours. I am sure they were afraid for their own lives, but they loved Jesus more than their fears. Also, I believe they wanted to make sure their beloved Teacher’s body had a proper place to rest in peace.

mary and john

The women’s courageous love for Jesus did not go unnoticed by Him, even as He hung on the cross in excruciating agony. Jesus saw His mother Mary and wanted her to be cared for. John 19:26-27 records, “When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom Jesus loved [John] standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son [meaning John]!’ Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.” Jesus loved His mother Mary who believed in Him from the beginning. One need only read her “Magnificat” in Luke 1:46-55 to understand Mary’s devotion and joy in her Son. In verse 47 she sings, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…” Mary knew she needed her Son to be her Savior.

women at foot of the cross

Jesus did not only see Mary His mother. He also noticed the unconditional and sacrificial love of Mary Magdalene and the other Marys, Joanna, Suzanna and many other women disciples; all of whom were healed by Jesus from their brokenness and given new meaning to their lives. Showing compassion and kindness and love to Jesus and to others in His Name is always noticed and rewarded by Jesus. I wonder if that is one of the reasons why some of the same women were the first to find His Empty Tomb.

To be continued…

Lydia photo

Lydia

Present day disciples may serve Jesus by following one of His teachings: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it [given] to one of the least of these My brothers and sister [the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the prisoner], you did it [served] Me” [Luke 25:40b].