In Acts 10 the Apostle Peter says that when Jesus rose from the dead he was not seen by all the people. He was seen only by people who had been chosen by God as witnesses.
The Biblical accounts of the resurrection tell us that the very first witnesses of the resurrection were women. It was not Peter or any of Jesus’ other hand-picked apostles. It was not any of his enemies. It was women.
And clearly the women were to be true witnesses of the resurrection. Matthew 28 tells us that the angel who was at the tomb when the women arrived, invited the women to come into the tomb and see where Jesus had been laying. Then, as they are going to tell the others, Jesus himself appears to them. They took hold of his feet and worshiped him. They were definitely eye-witnesses.
But who were these women?
The most prominent witness of the resurrection on Easter was Mary Magdalene, a woman out of whom Jesus had cast seven demons. She is actually mentioned more in the Bible than many of Jesus’ apostles. Like Joseph of Arimathea, who took charge of Jesus’ burial, many legends have sprung up about her.
Another female witness to Jesus’ resurrection was Mary, the mother of James. She may have also gone by the name of Salome. According to Luke, Joanna, the wife of Chuza, King Herod’s household manager was there along with some other women.
It is no surprise that Jesus would choose women to be witnesses of his resurrection. During his ministry Jesus often interacted with women even though doing so was frowned on by the religious leaders of his day.
Luke tells us that when the women came from the tomb and told the apostles that it was empty and that Jesus had risen they were not taken seriously. Their words seemed to the apostles to be an idle tale and they did not believe the women.
In his teachings Jesus even referred to women from the Old Testament and told parables that involved women. Luke 8:1-3 tells us that a group of women provided for Jesus out of their means.
I can think of at least one good reason why Jesus would choose women to be the first witnesses to his resurrection; women share.
In developing parts of the world when women succeed it helps the entire society. That’s because women will always share their success with others, starting with their own families.
God knew that the women would share the message of Christ’s resurrection so they were a perfect choice to be the first witnesses of the greatest event ever to happen in the history of the world.
The role of women in the church today is no less important than it was in Biblical times. Women are still called by God to testify to the truth of our Lord’s resurrection. They continue to lead the way when it comes to sharing both our spiritual and physical blessings with others.
All of us, whether we are male or female, are called by God to be witnesses of the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ resurrection from the dead proves that his death on the cross truly did pay for the sins of the world.
You may think you are not qualified to be a witness. Then think about Mary Magdalene. When Jesus found her she had seven demons. I hope that is not the case with any of you but it does show that no one is beyond the Lord’s reach.