April 17, 2017
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
I have always been impressed with The Women’s Easter Faith in the Bible! Today, as Christians, we are regularly taught that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and is alive today! This foundational fact of our faith has been preached for almost two thousand years! But back at the time of Jesus – although He had raised three people from the dead (see Luke 7:14, 15; 8:51-55; John 11:43, 44); and there were three resurrections in the Old Testament (see I Kings 17:17-24; II Kings 4:18-37; 13:20, 21) – the idea of idea of someone who had died coming back to life was pretty far-fetched! It is with this background that we see The Women’s Easter Faith!
• The first example of such Easter Faith is found in John 12:3-7:
Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet
of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with
the fragrance of the oil. Then…Judas Iscariot…said, “Why was this fra-
grant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This
he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had
the money box, and used to take what was put in it. Then Jesus said, “Let
her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial.”
Mary of Bethany, Lazarus’ and Martha’s sister, according to Luke 10:39, was the one “…who…sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.” It does not say what He taught as Mary listened, but it certainly could have been what He was teaching His disciples in Matthew 17:22 and 23: “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up.” But most of Jesus’ followers would not accept this! Peter even rebuke Him: “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You! ” (Matthew 17:22). Also, the very next thing the disciples did, after being told again that Jesus would suffer, die, and rise from the dead is recorded in Mark 9:34: “…they…disputed among themselves who would be the greatest…” in the coming kingdom! They could only focus on the glory – their glory in the immediately coming kingdom – and not the suffering of the Messiah!
But Mary had faith to prepare her Lord’s body for burial, knowing He would rise again! Now it does not say that she understood that Jesus would be resurrected, but in just the chapter before, John 11, she had witnessed Him raising her brother Lazarus from the grave by the power of God! I believe Mary was acting on Easter Faith!
• The second example of The Women’s Easter Faith is in Mark 16:1-3:
Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother
of James, and Salome brought spices, that they might come and anoint
[the body of Jesus]….Very early in the morning, on the first day of the
week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said
among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the
tomb for us?”
Four tombs around Jerusalem have been found with the rolling stone intact. Such stones weigh between two and four thousand pounds! The following information is from theosophical. wordpress.com:
Generally speaking, the rolling stone was set inside a groove in front of the
entrance, and secured from falling over by a stone wall that stood in front
of [the] tomb opening (the rolling stone was sandwiched between the tomb
entrance and stone wall…). Often, the groove was not level, but slightly
sloped. To close the tomb, the stone would be rolled down the groove at a
decline and come to rest in front of the entrance. To open the tomb, the
stone would have to be rolled up the groove at an incline.
To move the stone to gain entrance to Jesus’ tomb would have been impossible for these three women! Yet they came…! We know according to Matthew 28:2 that “…an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door….” But they did not know who would roll away the stone! They were just coming by faith to anoint the Lord’s body! These three women were manifesting Easter Faith!
• The third example of the Women’s Easter Faith is found in John 20:14 and 15:
[Mary Magdalene]…turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and
did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you
weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gar-
dener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where
You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
We don’t know just how physically big of a man Jesus was. He certainly was big enough, muscular enough, and powerful enough to drive the traders from the temple! (See Matthew 21:12). And we don’t know how physically big and strong Mary Magdalene was, but she probably was not an ‘Amazon’! So how could she possibly have hauled the dead-weight body of Jesus away? She spoke by faith! She did not know how she was going to accomplish this task, and probably she could not have done it. But, in her thinking – and because of her devotion to her Lord – she would have done it! We know her faith and devotion was rewarded, because the One she thought at first was the gardener was the resurrected Jesus! This is Easter Faith in action!
Faith is not always logical! Often it is illogical! But The Women had Easter Faith, and they acted on it! May we also have such Easter Faith!