“After the Sabbath, as the light of the next day, the first day of the week, crept over Palestine, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the tomb to keep vigil. … A messenger of the Lord had come down from heaven and had gone to the grave. He rolled away the stone and sat down on top of it. … The soldiers guarding the tomb were terrified. They froze like stone. The messenger spoke to the women, to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, ‘Don’t be afraid. I know you are here keeping watch for Jesus who was crucified. But Jesus is not here. He was raised, just as He said He would be’“–Matthew 28:1-2, 4-6 (emphasis mine).
CHRIST IS RISEN! How can we not feel the thrill through our hearts? As I reflect on the heart-stopping awe that all the Marys in the various resurrection accounts must have felt, I rejoice with them and all the others that paved the way for me to celebrate today!
For many years (and probably decades) I have reveled in the angel’s words, ‘just as He said.’ Because Jesus told all the disciples outright that God would resurrect Him. None of them believed it at the time He said it, let alone once He died. The women watched and remembered at the tomb; but they seemed to believe that He would stay physically dead. The whole exchange between the women and the angel fascinates me. In that culture, women were not considered credible eye-witnesses. Yet, the angel does not address the soldiers; the angel addresses the women.
The women who worshipped. The women who financed Jesus’ work. The women who waited.
The women who believed what Jesus said.
Yes, God gave one of the highest honors in history–proclaiming the resurrection of Christ–to the least valued voices of the culture.
Humbling. Validating. Awe-inspiring.
In life, Jesus brought honor to women and other less-than people in His society. In death, the Gospel writers honor the oft-forgotten women. In resurrection, the angel commissions the lowly women to proclaim Christ’s new life! A beautiful picture of healing the power struggle between genders.
In the beginning, when the world was innocent, God created all humanity in His image. A balance of power. We created the power hierarchy. We needed Someone to free us from the shame environments that hierarchy created. Only He could show us how to embrace that image once again. Only He could rescue us from ourselves. Only He could invite us to join His way of life. Only He could teach us how to risk without shame and live bravely, even when others don’t approve of the freedom we gratefully receive from the unconditional love and grace of God. Only He could show us how to die to the facades we’re told we have to exhibit so that our truest parts can resurrect and bloom!
Christ’s resurrection life created a better way–one where everyone gets to play. Just as He said from the beginning.
I’d love to hear from you!! How can use your voice to proclaim freedom in Christ to others?