Witness of the Women
Each of the four Gospels describe details of Jesus’ Resurrection as the writers saw it. Each of them is inspired of God and therefore without error or contradiction. Each of them deal with critical truths concerning His Resurrection.
1. The empty tomb and the undisturbed grave wrapping
2. The testimony of the women rejected by the Apostles
3. The testimony of the Jewish leaders, enemies of Christ, who bribed the
Roman guards to spread a lie.
THE EMPTY TOMB
Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb first very early that Sunday morning while it was still dark. Finding the heavy stone rolled away she looked in and found the tomb empty and surmised that someone had stolen the body of Jesus. John 20
Immediately she returned to her friends, Peter and John and informing them of the awful news. The three immediately returned, running to the sepulchre.
John, younger, arrived there first and looked in, considering carefully what he saw. Jesus body was indeed gone. The grave clothes that had been wrapped around him like a cocoon were still undisturbed and intact. The linen cloth that had covered His face was now folded neatly in its place. His resurrected body had obviously passed through the grave clothes leaving them totally undisturbed.
Peter, a little older, finally arrived at the tomb and immediately rushed in and saw what John had just seen. John followed Peter into the tomb and as the facts settled into his mind, he believed that Jesus was indeed alive and risen from the grave. Then the two men, having seen the evidence and were settled that Jesus was alive, left the tomb and returned home.
Mary Magdalene continued there alone, stooping down and peering into the empty tomb, weeping uncontrollably in sorrow for her missing Friend, As she looked, she saw two angels in white sitting: one at the head of the slab and the other at the foot of the slab where Jesus had lain. They spoke to her, “Woman, why weepest thou?”
She replied to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord and I know not where they have laid Him.”
At that moment she sensed someone standing behind her. Turning around she saw through her tears a man standing, but did not recognize Him as Jesus. He spoke to her, “Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?
She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if thou hast borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
At that point, Jesus spoke her name, “Mary!” Immediately she looked into His face, recognizing Him and with great joy addressed Him, “Rabonni” “Master!”
As she reached out to grab hold of His feet, Jesus cautioned her, “Touch Me not, for I am not yet ascended to My Father. But go to my brethren and say unto them, ‘I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.”
THE TESTIMONY OF THE WOMEN
With that, He vanished and Mary Magdalene immediately rushed to the place where she knew she would find the disciples and shared the good news with them.
A little later in the morning before dawn, several other women, friends of Jesus, arrived at the tomb: Mary, the mother of James and Joses, and Salome, the wife of Zebadee and the mother of another James and John. Luke also mentions Mary Magdalene, although she had come earlier to the tomb. These women also found the tomb empty and reported what they saw to the disciples of Jesus; who when they heard their testimony, rejected it as mere gossip and visions of their imaginations. Luke 24:1-11
THE TESTIMONY OF THE JEWISH LEADERS, ENEMIES OF CHRIST, WHO BRIBED THE ROMAN GUARDS TO SPREAD A LIE
In Matthew 28:11-15 we have the story of the Roman guards reporting to the Jewish religious leaders what had happened at the tomb. The leaders, intent on covering up the facts of His obvious resurrection, bribed the Roman soldiers to spread the lie that His disciples had come during the night while the Roman soldiers slept, pushed aside the heavy rock, breaking the Roman seal and stolen the body of Jesus- all of that without waking up the soldiers.
What a preposterous lie they concocted! Imagine the disciples being willing to suffer and die for the truth of the Gospel when secretly they knew it was all a lie! No one would purposely die for a lie!
HOW IMPORTANT ARE WOMEN TO GOD?
Would you note something very interesting about the four Gospel accounts of the resurrection of Jesus? Only women were witnesses of Jesus death, burial and resurrection.
True, the Roman soldiers and the Jewish masses of people all saw Jesus die; but as far as Jesus friends are concerned, only the women witnessed His death. The disciples of Jesus had fled. John, the beloved disciples had been sent home with Jesus’ mother, Mary. a little while before Jesus’ death. Of Jesus’ friends, only the women watched Him die.
True, Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus, secret followers of Christ, were involved in burying Jesus. But it was the women; not the disciples, who were involved in bringing spices for His burial.
On Sunday morning, the women were the first to go to the tomb and discover that it was empty. Jesus’ body was gone. It was the women who heard the angels and Jesus Himself announce His resurrection. According to Luke 24:11, the Disciples rejected their news as idle tales and nonsense. They would not believe the women.
As Eve, the first woman, influenced her husband Adam to disobey God and eat of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden and women have to this day borne the stigma of leading the human race into the sin of rebellion against God (even though God held the man, Adam, and not his wife Eve responsible for leading the human race into sin. Romans 5:12-19
I Corinthians 15:22)
So God has in His love for women, allowed women to have a major part in the redemption of the human race from the curse of sin.
It was Mary, a humble young virgin woman, who was given the high honor of supernaturally conceiving and bearing the body of Jesus, God in human flesh, who eventually died and rose again for the redemption of repentant sinners.
And it was women who had the privilege of witnessing the death of Jesus, His burial and His Resurrection, announcing it to the disciples.
I TIMOTHY 2:8-15
In Paul’s instruction to men and women found in this difficult passage, we learn how their stigma of having a major influence of bringing sin and its curse into the world is reversed by child bearing. Follow with me here.
In verse 8, first the men are instructed to lift up holy hands in prayer. The emphasis here is not so much on the posture nor the position of the hands as it is that men should be living holy lives as they approach God in prayer.
Then in verse 9-12 women are instructed, of all things, as to how to wear their hair and how to dress when they come to church and what part they should have in the worship services. They are instructed to be modest in their hair and dress styles, so they do not unduly call attention to their appearance and thus draw away attention from God in worship. Also they are instructed to not teach men nor lead churches.
So how does a woman reverse the stigma she brought on herself by leading her husband into the sin of disobeying God? She reverses that stigma by learning in silence and by her tremendous influence in bearing raising and training children for the glory of God. As I’ve said before repeatedly, it was women, mostly single women, who had the most godly influence in my life as a child. I am the preacher I am today because of the godly influence of single, as well as married women primarily.
I believe this is what Paul is saying in I Timothy 2:15 when it says, “she shall be saved in childbearing.” It’s not that women are saved from their sins by bearing children. Rather, the stigma she brought on herself in the Garden of Eden by leading her husband into sin is reversed as she bears and influences and trains the next generation of children for God.
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