Eastertide is a new term for me. It applies to the forty days between Easter and Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit. So let’s spend time reflecting on those days after the crucifixion.
We talked a few months ago about the way Jesus elevated the position of women from shame to honor. We see God doing that very thing again in the days after the resurrection—the women played a vital roll.
When Jesus breathed his last, the centurion . . .
. . . praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” Luke 23:47
Many of the men “beat their breasts” in a sign of anguish.
But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things. Luke 23:49
They lingered to see what would happen next. It would have taken some time for Joseph of Arimathea to go to Pilate to ask for the body, but the women were still there, waiting. Then,
The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Luke 23:35
Why? So they would know where to come to prepare the body with spices and perfumes. Since the Sabbath was about to begin that Friday evening, they wouldn’t be able to do their work until Sunday morning.
Who were these women? They were those who had followed Jesus from time to time to help in the ministry, perhaps by caring for the people or preparing food for Jesus and his twelve disciples as well as other followers. Several women helped, but three were specifically named in Matthew and Mark. Perhaps these three served as leaders.
Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons. Matthew 27:56
Mark calls the second Mary, the mother of James the younger or as “The Chosen” puts it, James the short one. (big James and little James) The third woman is likely Salome, the mother of (big) James and John.
Once Sabbath was over and true to their duty, the women went to the tomb early Sunday morning with their spices. It dawned on them that they would have trouble rolling that huge stone away from the tomb. To their amazement, they found the stone already rolled away, then they saw an angel with stunning white clothes. Luke tells us that the women “bowed down with their faces to the ground.” As with any angel appearance in the Bible, the first thing the angel must say is, “Do not be afraid—
“. . . for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead.'” Matthew 28:5-7
May that message continue to resonate with us long after our Easter celebrations. He is risen. He is risen indeed!
~ Joyce ~