It’s the second day after Resurrection Sunday. Let’s not leave the tomb so quickly because there are questions to ponder from the scene; specifically about all the women who were there at first light.
Without doubt Mary Magdalene was present. She was mentioned by all four gospel authors. But also noted by the Spirit inspired pen were Mary the mother of James, the other Mary, Salome, Joanna, and other women.
Why were there no men? Was it typically the woman’s duty to care for the bodies of the departed? Or were the men kept away by the facts: Jesus was dead and everyone knows death is final. End of story.
But might there be something else here to see? What had God created specifically in women that drove these six or more that Sunday morning to be near Jesus, to desire to anoint His body which is obviously an expression of deep love? Mark records,”That they might anoint Him, very early on the first day of the week” (Mark 16:1-2).
Because of their quicker to believe faith they were the very first to see Jesus alive! They also had the privilege of seeing and hearing the angel or angels in the tomb. This is not a bashing of the male disciples, but it is another kind of marveling at the mysterious handiwork of God to create in us women a uniquely different capacity for belief.
Though women in Jesus’ day were often viewed as inferior to men, Jesus knew differently. He knew both are created, by Himself the Creator, with intentional differences for divine purposes.
Here at the tomb we see Jesus honor His female disciples quick-to-recognize and believe-the-impossible by giving them the first sighting of His resurrected life! Mark 16:9 says, “He first appeared to Mary Magdalene.” Their eager welcoming faith was abundantly rewarded while the inner circle of 11 disciples, was later rebuked by Jesus for not believing the report of the women. Mark 16:14 tells us, “He reproached them for their unbelief.”
And yet there were two men, curious enough to run see for themselves. Peter and John ran together to the tomb after hearing Mary’s report. John “saw and believed” he wrote in John 20:8.
What can we learn from this? It is recorded for a reason. Being proud or condescending is not the reason. Let’s start by rejoicing that all who believe have been granted eternal life because of Jesus’ sacrifice. From there let us give thanks for His providential creative genius in making us male and female. It is another marvel from the first Easter. The women responded uniquely and it is good.