The women in the Easter story have something for all of us. In fact, considering the very limited credit that women were given in 1st Century Palestine and before, the role that women play in Jesus’ ministry and throughout the Bible is remarkable. Back then, women were really thought of and treated as second-class citizens. They had no real rights and no real influence except through their husbands, and they had to be married to thrive and even survive. The named Disciples may have been men, but even the Bible talks about the women who traveled with them.
Think about the many women of the Bible. From Eve, to Pharaoh’s daughter who rescued and raised Moses as her own, through Jesus’ experiences with the woman at the well, the adulteress for whom Jesus interceded, and the important role that Mary played in making Jesus flesh-and-blood.
But let’s focus on the Easter story. Christ’s story and thus the Easter story are really made possible by the role that women play in it. Women were there when Jesus died. They saw him crucified. They saw him die. That’s powerful. And it’s critical to the resurrection story. There is no resurrection story if he did not die. They saw him removed from the cross and witnesses him being placed in the borrowed tomb. Dead. Buried. Confirmed.
After the next day passed – the Sabbath – they returned to the tomb to prepare his body for its final rest. But his body wasn’t there. Angels met them and explained that Jesus had risen. The angels didn’t appear to the Disciples but to the women. Then, Jesus appeared to them. Alive!
Jesus’ death. Jesus’ burial. Death confirmed. Tomb empty. Jesus alive. The fact that the tomb was empty was further proof that it was Jesus that they saw. The women were key. Now, while women may not have been allowed to take an oath and testify (for many years thereafter), they were key witnesses to the impetus of Christianity.
What does this mean for us? All of us, at one time or another, or perhaps since we were born, have felt minimized, unrecognized, insignificant or second-class. We may have been made to feel that way by society, the world at large, our community, our friends, our colleagues, our classmates, or even our church. Perhaps we were made to feel that way because of how we look, what we believe, what we wear, how we live, or how much money we have. But like the women in the Easter story, we all have an important role to play in a much bigger story. God can and does use all of us. Because we are all God’s children, we can make a difference in God’s Kingdom, right here, right now. What can you do?