The Women Who Visited the Resurrection Tomb of Jesus
The women who visited the resurrection tomb of Jesus are a fascinating study. Guest blogger, Corinne March takes a look at their story. How was it that women were the first to see the empty tomb and what was their connection to Eve?
What inspires you about the resurrection of Jesus? Comment below or contact us.
Easter Is A Time to Reflect on the Women Who Visited the Tomb
While it is important to remember at all times, Easter is a particular time to reflect upon the death and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through it, God’s grace and redemptive power is clear and paramount. If there is ever a time to feel insignificant, or as if our work for our family or for God is largely ignored, we can remember that He sees the unseen, and uses the most unlikely, in order to do great works through them.
The account from Luke 23:55-56 mentions that,
“The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.”
Then he continues,
“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.” (Luke 24:1)
Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary Visit the Tomb
Later, Luke identifies these people as Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James (Luke 24:10). John’s account has Mary Magdalene come alone to the tomb (John 20:1). Mark identifies a woman named Salome along with Mary Magdalene, and Mary, mother of James. (Mark 16:1) Matthew only identifies Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary.” (Matthew 28:1) Suffice it to say, we may not know exactly who and in what order every individual arrived at the tomb, but primarily that the first people to arrive at the tomb were women.
Very little is mentioned in Scripture about any of these women, who they were, or what they did. Mary Magdalene and Joanna are mentioned briefly in Luke’s gospel as recipients of Jesus’s miraculous healings. “Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve 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 Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.” (Luke 8:1-3) It is difficult, and in some cases impossible to determine who they actually were across the different accounts, and much of their true identities are left to legend and speculation.
Mark’s Account of the Resurrection
Continuing on in Mark’s account, we read, “And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?’ And looking up, they saw that 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 to them,
‘Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” (Mark 16:2-7)
The Credibility of Women During the First Century
The account of women in this part of the world during the first century was not regarded as credible. Any testimony given by a woman at that time and place was not even permissible in court. So why would God ask such a people as women to be the first to testify such monumental news as the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour? Nonetheless, why would He task such people who really have no backstory according to scripture, and some of whom have only been introduced just now in their arrival at the tomb to see the resurrection?
Eve and the Women Who Visited the Tomb
I find it interesting, as I ponder these things, to look back on the Garden of Eden. The woman, Eve, was deceived by the serpent, ate of and then gave the forbidden fruit to her husband Adam to eat. While Adam’s sin is evident, in that he disregarded God’s direct command to him and ate the fruit, Eve was the one to participate in the sin first, and encourage Adam to sin. There is a parallel to the role of Eve in this event and to those of the women in the account of the resurrection. The women were the first to arrive at the tomb and behold the resurrection. Then, they were the ones tasked with channeling this information to the other disciples. While the first woman, Eve, was the one to be deceived by eating the fruit and to carry that tool of sin to Adam, the women at the tomb were the first to be enlightened with the news of the resurrection, and blessed with carrying forth the message of redemption from that sin to the others. While by no means is this the reason why God chose women to be the messengers of the resurrection, it is fascinating to think about nonetheless, and an amazing testament to God’s incredible work in the redemption of mankind.
Devotion to Jesus
While the stories of the women at the tomb may be unclear, what was evident is their devotion to Jesus. John’s gospel states that Mary Magdalene came to the tomb “while it was still dark.” I get the impression that she probably didn’t do a lot of sleeping over those past couple of days. Many of the women did much to “provide…out of their means,” as was mentioned earlier in Luke 8:3. And though they kept their distance, they were present at Jesus’s crucifixion, and made careful note of where the body was laid, (Luke 23:55-56) in order to tenderly embalm Him later. Would God not reward this quiet, humble and loyal servitude with the opportunity to be first to hear the good news of the resurrection?
This Easter, we can remember that God speaks to everyone, especially those who feel ignored or disregarded. As we carry out our service in our chapels, or as we go about our daily lives at home, the work that we do that is often dismissed or regarded as second-class, is often the work that is regarded in a very big way later on, perhaps even on the other side of glory. If we have committed a particular sin, or simply have drifted away from Him in general, we can look no further than to His sacrifice on the cross and the power and glory found in His resurrection, to know that He is always there to welcome us back. With many blessings.
She is a stay-at-home mom, who spends most of her time homeschooling their three children.
She attends Scottlea Gospel Chapel in St. Catharines, ON, where Stephen serves as an elder.
Images courtesy of:
Woman – Pixelman
Marguerite – Lucky2013
OT Women – estall