“It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them.” Luke 24:1-11 NKJV)
If you wanted to start a religion in ancient Israel, you probably shouldn’t put yourself in a position where women are the main witnesses to any events related to the founding. Women, in general, were not treated kindly, especially when it came time to testify in court or in public. When the women who were the first witnesses to the resurrection repeated what the angels said to them, they weren’t believed. Their tales were foolish. And if the women dared to repeat what the angels said about all this being what Jesus said was going to happen, they’d wonder how a woman would dare to teach a man. There are some cultures around the world, even today, that hold that same view of women. You need to give Peter some credit, though. He didn’t dismiss the story out of hand. He ran down to the tomb himself and checked things out. He may not have believed right away, but when the two men came back from Emmaus later that evening, indications are that Jesus had appeared to Peter. But the first witnesses were women because God knew that their testimony would be truthful and valid. Perhaps this was His way of saying women should be treated equally.
Paul noted that our status as male or female wasn’t as important as our status in Christ. Still, old habits die hard and women are often seen as being a little less than a man. God doesn’t see women that way. The first people to spread the news of the resurrection were women, according to God’s plan. When woman was created, she was created to be side by side with man. If you’re male and you’re reading this, do you treat women as equals in the work place and at home or do you see them as subservient? God sees women as equals. How can you treat women like God would? If you’re female and dealing with men who don’t treat women as being equal, how do you break down the barriers they raise?
Lord, it’s so easy to let culture determine our attitudes toward others. Help us see all people not as male or female, but as fellow travelers in Christ. If I take a superior attitude toward women because of my culture, remind me that You trusted women enough that they were the first to experience Your resurrection and share that great news with others.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.