Matthew’s Passion: Women’s work
There is a meme going around Facebook and Twitter. It says, “In the interests of Biblical accuracy, all the preaching about the resurrection on Easter Sunday will be done by women.” It has a point.
All the disciples have fled and a few women watched from a distance. Then the body was buried. Now after the Sabbath the body needs to be embalmed, this could not have been done on the Sabbath as anyone who touches a dead body becomes ritually unclean.
The job of telling of the resurrection was done by women, not just because they were the ones who were available, but Jesus deliberately sought out women, whose testimony was seen as being unreliable in those days, to be apostles to the apostles. (Apostle means messenger.)
Jesus was always in control from the arrest through the trial and through on to the execution. God’s victory over sin and death has been won. Jesus victory procession in a reversal of the world’s values, was his body being taken to a tomb. The disciples do not realise this yet, but Gods victory is already won. Love has conquered death, Jesus Christ has won it. What could be better than this?
The better thing is what Christians celebrate at Easter.
Jesus is raised from the dead. God vindicated all that he did in life. God vindicated all that he did in his death. The victory of Christ that was hidden is now revealed.
The cross has moved beyond being a moral example.
The cross has moved beyond being about justice.
The cross has moved beyond being about atonement.
The cross has moved beyond being about forgiveness.
The cross has moved beyond being about freedom.
The cross has moved beyond being about healing.
The cross has moved beyond being about victory.
The cross is all of these, the cross vindicates all these.
What is beyond is hinted at in one word in the passage where Jesus says, “Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee.” The important word here being brothers.
Those who follow Jesus are his brothers. Jesus only refers to them as brothers after the resurrection. I have spoken in my Lenten blogs about following Jesus to our own Gethsemane and to our own Calvary. That road leads to our own resurrection. It is not about new life we get when we die, or new life when the dead are raised when Christ returns but about new life now. Yes, now!
Following Jesus brings us to our own resurrection, we are raised not back to where we were but into God’s own family. We are the family of God, creator of the universe.
We are the family of God. When I spoke about the victory of the cross I said it gets better than that. This is that better.
This is the new way which was preached first by women. A woman’s testimony would not have been accepted in those days, but that is God’s way, that is the way of God’s family, that is our way. To lift people up not tear them down, to empower the marginalised, to bring freedom to those crushed by oppression. These are the values of the Kingdom of God, those of us in his family must live by his standard.
This is the better way of God, it is that those who are saved should work out their salvation in service to others.
Have a happy and blessed Easter.
Now after the Sabbath, towards the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he[a] lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshipped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
Matthew 28 ESVUK
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
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