Women: The Original Witnesses to Resurrection and Life
Hope, life, renewal, rebirth. These aren’t things we see much of these days with the ongoing violence and rhetoric of death. Honestly, things look pretty dismal both here and in many parts of the world. It seems the extremists are getting the stage, while the rest of us simply look on.
This must have been how Jesus’ followers felt when he was executed in the most humiliating way. All their dreams, all His words, all that they had thought possible seemed to be snuffed out for all to see. To make matters worse, they were quickly labeled as dangerous outsiders.
These words also represent things that we women often bear witness to. We even carry the cycle of life, death and birth in our very bodies, something that the religious deemed unclean, labeling and demeaning women both today and in antiquity.
Yet, it was women who watched the intimate process of death that Jesus suffered (Mark 15:40-41 and John 19:25), women who prepared Jesus’ body (Matthew 23:55-56) and women who were chosen to be the first witnesses of His resurrection (Matthew 28:1-10). This was not a simple coincidence, and it was considered significant enough to be mentioned in some form in all of the Gospels.
Jesus did not deem women dirty or insignificant in the midst of a society that marginalized them; He allowed them to have the closest encounter with His death and resurrection out of all of His followers. He also reclaimed a process deemed “dirty,” insisting that dying and being born again was the only path to real life and to being “clean.”
As women, we have been incredibly strong throughout generations of obstacles; we have borne and intimately been witnesses to birth and death -- the blood and pain and also the beauty and new life. We know that just when it seems things cannot go on, this is the moment new life will come.
In this time of hopelessness and death, let’s choose to be witnesses to life, to understand that the pain is only a prelude and we as women have a significant part to play in bringing hope. We are not only called to be observers, but rather we are tasked with getting down in the dirt and working towards the justice and love that Jesus embodied; we are uniquely positioned to bring fresh vision in the midst of brokenness and sow where it seems there is only barrenness. As you remember Jesus’ resurrection, will you consider how you can join me in this?