I’m certainly not the first one to point out the uniqueness of the centrality of women in the Resurrection accounts in the Gospels. What stands out is that in that society, women were not thought of very highly. They, in many ways, seemed more like property than people in the ancient near east. So the Gospel writers putting women front and center in the crescendo of their story is an odd choice… if that’s not exactly what happened. Women wouldn’t add any credibility to the story at that time. However, that’s exactly what they do. It proves the Resurrection account as factual. There’d be no other reason to include them in the story unless it is what occurred. But I think there are even more interesting facts to notice about these women who went to tend to Jesus’ dead body but instead found an empty tomb.
1) Either “Mary” was the most popular name 20 years running in Israel or Jesus was really strict on only hanging out with girls named “Mary.”
2) Jesus’ disciples and the other men in his life had no…. marbles. The women on the other hand were totally unafraid and left their house even before daybreak to get to the tomb to take of Jesus.
3) They clearly didn’t have any idea about the Resurrection. Once again proving this isn’t a made-up story but one filled with genuine surprise.
4) Women even misunderstood Jesus, so guys, what hope do you have?
5) Jesus purposefully revealed Himself to the women in His life first. They were the most faithful during His death, and they get to be the first to rejoice in His life.
6) These women in particular reflect the service-oriented nature of Jesus Christ.
7) They reveal, “you are who your friends are.” The people you spend time with affect your way of thinking. I doubt all 12 disciples felt exactly the same way, but enough were too scared to even leave their house for fear of reprisal, but this whole group of women got the courage up to go take care of Jesus’ dead body regardless of the consequences. Someone was confident and vocal enough to speak up to get the rest to follow them.
8) They intensely loved Jesus. They loved Him when it was convenient and inconvenient, when it was popular and unpopular. They loved Him when they thought He was alive, and they loved Him when they thought He was dead.
9) The first people Jesus “commissions” for ministry after His resurrection are women. They were to go share what they had seen to the disciples. Whatever one believes about women being “pastors,” no one can argue about women being called to ministry. They are called by Jesus to do so.
10) Perhaps women are better at spreading news? I’m just going to leave that untouched.
The main key is that the women who went to take of Jesus’ crucified body 3 days after his death are not an insignificant detail. They bring real life to the story and help to verify it. They bring a ton of emotion and heart into the story. Jesus specifically revealed himself to them. Women are essential to the story then, and they are still essential to the Kingdom of God today.