Ladies First

“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn,
they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 
And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 
While they were perplexed about this, behold, 
two men suddenly stood near them in gleaming clothing; 
and as the women were terrified
and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them,
‘Why are you seeking the living One among the dead? 
He is not here, but He has risen.
Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 
saying that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinful men,
and be crucified, and on the third day rise from the dead.’  
And they remembered His words…” 
Luke 24:1-8 (NIV)

When the four Gospels all record the fact that women were the first to witness the empty tomb, we may miss a very remarkable point. In biblical times the testimony of women was inadmissible in a court of law. They were not allowed to give testimony since Jewish society was chauvinistic in this regard. Because the first two resurrection appearances by Jesus were to women, we see God breaking man made rules and honouring women by allowing them to be first twice in seeing Jesus alive after the cross (John 20:11-18; Matthew 28:9-10).

Then it was women, not men, who first testified to the most central doctrine of Christianity (John 20:18). Then we read in Mark 16:11 that the disciples, true to Jewish custom did not believe the women’s testimony.

Why do some skeptics, who deny the resurrection, insist that the whole resurrection teaching was an attempt to enhance the narrative concerning Jesus? Had the biblical writers fabricated the resurrection stories they never would have written that women were first to both see Jesus in the resurrection and first to testify to the story—especially to men!! Such teaching about women first shows how honest the writers were because they knew that some would dismiss the accounts due to the fact of how it honoured women above men.

Indeed, we have honest people, who were initially doubters to the resurrection, coming to the empty tomb to verify what they had first heard from the women. Such evidence tells us clearly that the resurrection story is true. He indeed is risen as He had predicted (Matthew 16:21)!

Believer, does it matter to you that you serve a risen Saviour? Do you reflect on this doctrine regularly? Do you delight to read the accounts and find yourself drawn to your Good Shepherd again and again because He not only died for your sins but also rose again from the dead?

In order to be a child of God you must believe in your heart that the One Who laid down His life for the sheep not only died on their behalf but rose again from the dead for their sake (Romans 10:9).

Crown him the Lord of life,
Who triumphed over the grave,
And rose victorious in the strife
For those he came to save.
His glories now we sing,
Who died, and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring,
And lives that death may die.

-Matthew Bridges

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