Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary 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 back 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 that 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. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his 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 and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
(Matthew 28:1-10 ESV)
Yesterday we saw Mary Magdalene and the other Mary go to Jesus’ tomb on the Sunday after He was crucified. These same women had been at the cross throughout Jesus’ six-hour crucifixion and then escorted Jesus’ body to the tomb and watched as it was sealed.
These women knew Jesus was dead and they knew the exact location where His body was placed. So it was appropriate that they were the first ones to find out that Jesus was resurrected. These women provide a continuous witness as to the whereabouts and condition of Jesus’ body for a forty-eight hour period.
This is significant because it helps to prove that Jesus didn’t swoon on the cross and that His body wasn’t stolen.
It also adds credibility to the resurrection story for another reason: they were women. In this culture women were not considered to be credible witnesses. For example, they could not provide testimony in a trial.
All four gospel writers included the resurrection in their account. And all four mention multiple women as the ones who first discovered that Jesus was resurrected. Many of the women are mentioned by name. This is important because it provides proof that the gospel writers did not invent the resurrection.
To the ancient Jews, the idea of a person rising from the dead was hard enough to believe. But add the fact that women were the first witnesses and that they convinced their male counterparts to believe it happened and the story becomes entirely preposterous. Unless it’s true. In fact, Luke alludes to this very point in his gospel account [Luke 24:11].
God is entirely counter-cultural. He has no regard for faulty human thinking or man-made traditions. It’s no coincidence that the first evangelist of God’s good news was a woman.
God eliminated would-be doubts of Jesus’ resurrection by using that which went against the culture of the day. If the gospel writers were going to make up the story of Jesus’ resurrection and expected people to believe it they never would have made women the witnesses. The female witnesses are built-in proof that the story is true.
Many people reject the Bible because, they claim, it subjugates women. They most likely base this conclusion on a faulty understanding of Ephesians 5:22. We studied this verse last year and saw that it in no way alleges that women are inferior to men, as many mistakenly believe.
In fact, whenever we see women mentioned in the Bible they are portrayed as leaders (e.g. Miriam, Deborah), having wisdom (e.g. Abigail), or, as in the case of the resurrection story, being brave and dedicated.
The Bible is 100% true. It is true not because we want it to be but because it is. But to see that truth we must study it, not simply read it.
Many critics want to claim that one can’t use the Bible to prove the Bible. But this is a lie from Satan. God has built the proof of the Bible’s truthfulness right into the Bible.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.