St. Matthew 28:10

Nov. 19, 2021

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

2And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

3His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

4And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

5And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

6He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

7And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

8And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

9And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

10Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.

The Resurrection is overwhelming and stunning and far greater minds and writers have written about it. I can not the best the best of those writers but I see something that sometimes is, if not missed, perhaps not discussed so thoroughly.

Regardless of which Gospel narrative you read, it was the women who saw the resurrected Jesus first. It was the women who braved a run in with the Roman soldiers at the grave. It was the women who sought to attend the body of Jesus in whatever way that was for Jews who were now Christians. We see in these women our first ‘church women’.

We are there when Jesus has a discussion with the sisters Mary and Margaret – He understands the need of the one to see to the needs of those who have arrived to see Jesus and He points also to the other who studies at His feet. We are Margaret and Mary in our churches to this day – the women who are so talented and adept at organizing events and meals supported by the women who see to it that there is ample place and opportunity for study. Retreats are excellent for displaying this union between the two necessary ministries. I like to think of them as depicted when we fold our hands in prayer – the fingers of both hands lay side by side and make a strong merger; they come from different directions but where they join they are the strongest.

When I hear people say that Christianity ignores women, I know they haven’t read the Bible. We are there throughout the entire story, from Genesis to Revelation. Jesus is the head, the Apostles and our priests and bishops are the roof; but a roof can’t stand without the supporting walls. Women were there in every story of the travels of the Apostles – women seeing to it that the Apostles were fed, housed, had a couple of bucks in their pockets for the road. We’ve always been there and we should know by now our great worth to Jesus – Jesus, lover of a woman’s soul.

I’m chuckling to myself – how many church women have not ‘had a word’ with their priest because something needed to be attended to? (chuckling …) I rest my case.

13 thoughts on “St. Matthew 28:10”

  1. The wall analogy is an an excellent way of describing why and how women are so important to the church. I had never thought of the role of women in that way until now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Alys. A priest can’t – and shouldn’t have to – do everything. In every family, it’s all hands on deck to keep things running smoothly. Our church family is no different.

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  2. Jess once wrote of the Magdalene, who is a great favorite of hers, saying. The testimony of a woman was no testimony at all in the Jewish courts, and that’s true, but who did Christ Himself choose to bring the first testimony of His resurrection to His followers? He chose a woman, and a woman of the people. It all flows from that testimony of a woman.

    This is an outstanding post Audre, and one that both men and women would do well to contemplate.

    I’d add only that the original spread of “The Way” as it was called in the early years was very much carried out by women, including, it seems, Pilate’s own wife, from Britain to China and the north pole far into Africa it was the same

    And one of the main reasons was that those Christians didn’t leave unwanted babies to die of exposure, but loved them and cared for them. This too is one of the distinctives of our Faith.

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  3. Audre, your writing…so good as usual. I will be using the hand analogy you can be sure and I too like the wall analogy. Will you be sending this to Bp. Chad??
    One thing struck me that I had missed before…the great earthquake. …… Imagine being one of the Sanhedrin sleeping in his bed jolted awake in the middle of the night. How about Ciaphas? Do you think they wondered about the “man” they had just crucified? What about Pilate and his wife? Did she sit up in bed and say “I told you so!” ?
    Reading on to the verses (v 11-15) after your reading. My Bible (ESV) titles that section “The Report of the Guard”. They reported to the elders… “there was this earthquake and the large stone rolled away”… did everyone get that sinking feeling? They knew.
    Then they quickly went into self preservation mode and thought up the “they stole the body” excuse. When did it dawn on them how feeble and worldly that effort was? At best they could hope He was a prophet…but what if He was who He said He was? What do you think they were feeling then? I think it might have been terror.

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    1. No; Bishop Chad has a lot more important stuff to do than read my stuff. But you’re very kind to suggest it.

      I’m quite certain the Sanhedrin slept like babies – they had no belief what ever that Jesus was exactly Who He said He was/is. The guards, of course, knew they were under a death sentence if they ‘fell asleep’ while on duty so they must have been extraordinarily happy to blame the ‘loss of the body’ on the earthquake. The guards that kept watch at the tomb may not even have been at or near the cross but from another regimen. But that’s an astute question.

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  4. The rending of the curtain (in the Temple) was the sign of the end of the Old Covenant, that access to God was no longer through the Priests of the Temple but only through the Most High Priest (Jesus Himself). The earthquake and the empty tombs was a sign that Jesus had conquered Death itself. Some commentators also imply that it was a sign of the removal of God’s protection of Jerusalem, which its sacking by Rome in 70 AD would confirm,

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  5. I’ve always seen the torn curtain as Jesus opening heaven to us – we don’t have to be in the outer rooms of the Temple but to be with Him in the holy of holies. I pray I see it.

    I have always been skeptical of Matthew’s telling of graves opening and the dead rising and being seen in town. Something THAT dramatic would be mentioned by more than one source; that’s just the way humans are – everyone would be talking about it. Because of this reasoning, the idea of this as being a ‘display’ of Jesus overcoming death becomes the more likely purpose. And of course He DID overcome death.

    The removal of the ‘hedge of protection’ seems plausible. I wonder if the Church Fathers had anything to say about it. I don’t recall.

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