Matthew 28:1-10 (NIV)
1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
This passage is full of astonishingly wrong expectations. The women came in fear and grief expecting to find Jesus dead in a sealed tomb. The earthquake was the least astounding thing they found. What looked like just the dawn of a new day was the dawn of a whole new stage of history. Jesus is the first one raised from death to eternal resurrection life, and we will join him in that same resurrection life when he returns.
Jesus chooses these two brave, faithful women as his first witnesses. They tell his disciples to meet him in Galilee where Jesus will commission them to be his witnesses too. And they are to teach all Jesus’ followers to be his witnesses too. That includes you and me.
It’s both unexpected and significant that Jesus chooses women as his witnesses. No woman’s testimony would be accepted in their culture. Yet it’s these two brave, faithful women that Jesus chooses as his first witnesses, to announce him to the world. Its even more astounding that Jesus chooses me to be his witness too. But he does.
This is the beginning of Jesus reconciling and restoring all of creation. It’s already begun. Jesus gives us all a part to play now. And it will all come to a glorious completion when Jesus returns.
Jesus, we’re overwhelmed with joy and excitement that you are alive, and that you’re transforming us and our world now. I love that your Spirit is alive in me today. To be honest, I’m like these women and filled with both fear and joy that you choose me to be your witness too. Please give me just a bit of the bravery and faithfulness of these two women. Work with me in speaking your truth into my world.
Written by David Cornell