This Monday I am thankful for Mary Magdalene; Salome, the wife of Zebedee (and the mother of the apostles James and John); Mary, the wife of Joseph’s brother Cleopas (and the mother of the disciple, James the Younger) and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s chief steward. John 15: 41 says that,
In Galilee these women had followed Jesus and cared for his needs.
They nurtured the team. They served because they cared. They were at the cross when Jesus died because they cared. They stayed as Joseph of Arimathea claimed the body, wrapped it in linen and took it to a tomb cut from rock where no one had ever been laid because.they.cared.
Luke 23: 55-56 says
55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.
Once the Sabbath was over, however, these women waited anxiously for the sun to come up to make their way to the tomb. When they got there they saw the stone was rolled away. Instead of seeing this as a dangerous sign, they went right in. They wanted to see him. They could barely see. It was dark inside the tomb, but…. We begin at Luke 24:4
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 into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” 8 Then they remembered his words.
9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.
And just where were the men? Where did the women have to go to tell them they had seen Jesus? They were hiding behind locked doors for fear of the Jews. This was the rational place to be. After all, the Jews had just crucified Jesus and they were His followers, maybe they were the next people on the Sanhedrin’s hit list. The men knew the women loved Jesus. They were women of considerable means who did not have to be “on the road”with Jesus. They were there because they believed in him. They were there because they cared for him. They may have thought the women were so distraught from grief that they were seeing things!
In John 20:19 it says,
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them.
In Mark 16:14 it says,
Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.
My husband, the Preacher, asked a good question in his Easter Sunday sermon, “What if the women would not have gone to the tomb on Easter morning?” There would have been no one there to witness the empty tomb. It may have been a lot more difficult to believe the story of the resurrection if there had not been eye witnesses immediately. Who knows how long it may have taken the first disciple to check out the tomb. The fact that the women were at the tomb at first light is incredibly significant, and so today I am thankful for
#593 Mary, the mother of Jesus who had to raise a most extraordinary child, adolescent and young man.
#594 Mary Salome, the mother of James and John, the Sons of Thunder. Their nicknames alone give us some idea of the life she had as their mother. Her dedication paid off, apparently, for the Lord entrusted the care of his mother after his death to John.
#595 Joanna, the wife of Herod’s chief steward. She was a wealthy woman of the palace, but she did not choose a life of comfort and ease, although she very well could have. Instead, she threw her life into Jesus’ ministry. It was dangerous for her to be spending time with the Roman governor’s public enemy number one. Nevertheless, she did.
#596 Mary, a woman from Magdela whom Jesus set free and she used her freedom to serve.
#597 for gender differences, for both are needed in building the Kingdom of God.
Thankful for so great a cloud of witnesses,