Summary: Every person comes to faith differently. Mary Magdalene was one of the last people at the cross and first to the tomb. Although she was marginalized by society she was a loyal follower of Jesus.
I HAVE SEEN THE LORD!
I suppose that one of the reasons that I like history is the fact that it is chronological. We had a high-school teacher in Indiana that would start the school term with the big current event of the day and then move backward through history to make it more relevant for his students.
History is like reading a book – the plot doesn’t change – and it’s not like a math problem or scientific theory. And when test time comes; if you know your facts you will do well on the test. History is rock solid.
And, in the historical account of Jesus, every legitimate historian validates that Jesus walked on this earth some 2,000 years ago. There has been a plethora of evidence both for and against the existence of Jesus. And after weighing all the evidence the pro-Jesus camp is on solid ground. The ministry and message of Jesus – his life; his teachings; and his miracles are widely accepted truths.
There is hard evidence that he was crucified on a Roman Cross and three days later resurrected to life again. Only a small segment of society deny these things. With that being said, What are we to make about the resurrection of Jesus? And, in the theme of this series, Have you seen Jesus?
One of the most striking things about the Resurrection accounts as they are written in all four Gospels is that women were the first ones at the empty tomb, the first to meet the Risen Jesus, and the first to tell others they had seen Him.
With the cultural divide, that may be difficult for us to understand today. But from a historical standpoint this is important. Women, at the time of Christ, were not considered to be credible witnesses. Jewish Rabbis are quoted as saying, "It is better that the words of the Law be burned than be delivered to a woman ."
And, no one in the ancient world would have made the story about the resurrection up! Jewish men would not have a conversation with a woman in public and even his wife would have to walk behind him. Women were considered chattel property and had no rights.
So, that is why the gospel accounts are so striking; so earth-shattering. The women were the first to the tomb. The women were the first ones to see the resurrected Savior of the world! They were the first to believe. Jewish men might well have liked to air-brush this story – but it is about the women – a segment of society that had no political, social or religious power.
To say the least, Jesus’ ministry was unconventional. His followers were not the upper-crust of society. His followers were commoners for the most part. They followed his teachings because of his heart. Love God and love others had deep meaning and appeal. Turn the other cheek was a radical and difficult application. Humility then as well as today is difficult to put into practice.
The man whom they had followed had been crucified on a torturous Roman cross and buried. Their hopes and dreams seemed to be buried with the man whom they had invested their beliefs. But, then … let’s read the text: