Women in the Easter Story

Heather GillisBible Study, Faith, Holiday1 Comment

I hope everyone had a Happy Easter!  Easter is one of my most favorite times of the year to celebrate everything Jesus did for us.  Did you know that women were present at the death, the burial and resurrection of Jesus and were mentioned by name?  Women played an integral role in the Easter story.  They were vital in sending the first message of the gospel, the ones to first utter the good news, “He is risen!”

The Death

In John 19:25-27, at the cross stood Jesus’ sweet mother Mary who was weeping for Him.  Alongside her stood Mary’s sister, Mary wife of Clops and Mary Magdalene.  Next to Mary stood the disciple whom he loved, whom we know as John but his actual name is not mentioned.  Mark 15:40-41 mentions the women Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James and Salome by name who were also present at the crucifixion of Jesus.  In all the gospels the only other person mentioned by name at the death of Jesus is the centurion.

The Burial

Mark 15:47 again mentions Mary Magdalene and Mary mother of Joses witnessed where Jesus was laid into the tomb.

The Resurrection

In Matthew 27:65-66, Pilate had ordered Jesus’ tomb to be sealed with a large stone and made secure so no one could enter and steal His body. Mary and Mary thought they were going to Jesus’ tomb to prepare His body. I wonder how they thought they were going to get into Jesus’ tomb especially for a couple of Jewish women?

God already made a plan for the women to get inside the tomb, by sending an earthquake to open it. Then an angel came and rolled back the stone and sat on it (Matthew 28:2).

God allowed Mary and Mary to be the first witnesses of the empty tomb and tell others what the angel told them, “He is not here; for He has risen!” (Matt. 28:6, ESV).  Can you imagine the surprise of these two women?  As they hurried away with joy, Jesus greeted them to tell them to send a message to the disciples.

Mary and Mary were mentioned by name as one of the first witnesses of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. As believers we aren’t able to see the evidence of the empty tomb, but we have the testimonies of these women who witnessed Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.  Jesus could have appeared to anyone, but He chose to appear to these women first.  What an honor it must have been to be the first person to tell the good news “He is risen!”–which was entrusted to a woman!

Courageous Faith

I love how Mary and Mary had such willing, open hearts.  They immediately recognized Jesus in His newly resurrected body.  They did not doubt for a second Jesus was who he said he was.  Their open hearts allowed them to hear and see the first account of the gospel, the new message everyone was going to soon hear, “He is risen!”

God had entrusted women to be faithful witnesses at the most sacred of events.  God knew these women were also going to be faithful messengers and servants to tell the good news “He is risen!”  They didn’t allow fear to get in the way, fearing what others may say or think, they obeyed whole-heartedly.

Even faithful believers doubted.

“When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.”  Mark 16:11

Not all believed at first Jesus had risen.  Jesus then appeared to two men walking to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-35.  Then to Peter and the 10 disciples in the upper room.

When Jesus appeared to his very own disciples they thought they saw a ghost.  They did not believe at first Jesus had been resurrected.  Jesus then asked, “Why are you troubled and why do doubts rise in your minds?  Look at my hands and my feet.  It is I myself!  Touch and see me, a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see I have”  (Luke 24:38-39).  

How patient is God with us?

Jesus could have said, ‘Hello you’re a little behind, I’ve been trying to tell you all along I was going to rise in three days, when I said,  “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again” Luke 24:7.

But their hearts did not yet understand the meaning.  An angel was sent by God to tell the women Jesus arose from the dead.  Then Jesus appeared to the women, then the two men and the disciples.  He showed them his marks on his hands and feet, talked and ate with them to allow the new message to sink in–Jesus conquered death! What more proof did they need?  Jesus was alive!

Have you ever had all the evidence right in front of you and missed the very point God was trying to tell you?

When we live out our faith in Jesus Christ we are able to personally know He is alive within us (Gal. 2:20).

As women, we can be bold in giving our testimonies that ‘He is risen,’ because of how God designed us.  He designed us as well to be faithful witnesses, messengers and servants.  I know this because Jesus first appeared to women.

I am so thankful and honored, God thought so highly of women to be apart of the most important event that ever existed–Easter.  As women we bear the honor of being the first witnesses to the most amazing miracle of all–the resurrection of Jesus.

God opened up the tomb as an opportunity to let us be a part of the most victorious life in Him.  When we believe that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, death has no power over us.  We are victorious in Jesus Christ.  

Do you believe He is risen?

Do we need more evidence that Jesus is alive or more faith?

Hallelujah “He is Risen!”

I pray I can have a ready, obedient heart like these women had that day when Jesus greeted them so I can recognize when I am in the presence of Jesus.  I am so thankful for the testimonies of these women who were so faithful!

How can we carry out the role of Mary and Mary today by being faithful witnesses, messengers and servants?

Did you accept the gift of salvation this Easter?  If you would like to know more how you can live a victorious life in Jesus, please leave a comment below or message us at Alaska Christian Women’s Ministry.  We would love to walk with you in your journey of faith!


About Heather Gillis

Heather received her master's degree in Nurse Anesthesia at Villanova University. She works full time as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist at a surgery center in Alaska. She is author of "Waiting for Heaven: Finding Beauty in the Pain and the Struggle," and a contributor for "Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Less." She also writes weekly Christian devotionals on her blog www.heathergillis.com. Heather and her husband Mac, reside in Alaska with their two living children. When she is not working, writing, or taking care of the house, you can find Heather running the trails, reading, taking the kids to gymnastics and choir, crafting with her daughter, building legos with their son, camping with her family, spending time with friends or volunteering wherever God takes her! To read her blog, learn more about Heather and her ministry visit www.heathergillis.com.

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