Inspiration, Encouragement & Instructions
". . . let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
(Hebrews 12:1, NIV)
This is part 1 in a 2-part series on the Women of Easter.
Before you read, take a few minutes and mentally or physically jot down a few answers to the below questions.
Have you ever stopped to think about Easter from the view of the women who saw the crisis of the cross of Christ unfolding in front of them?
And perhaps, most importantly, what can we learn from their integral role in the events that unfolded during Holy week?
I have spent much of the week looking closely at the four different accounts of Holy week as shared with us via the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Each of these men walked with Jesus, knew him intimately and by Easter Sunday morning firmly believed Jesus was who he said he was. All of them used the entirety of their lives (following Jesus’ resurrection and ascension) to spread the word of Jesus and his saving grace.
As I was reading through each account this week, it struck me how distinctly each writer made sure to include this common detail: The women of Jesus’ ministry were among the few who were at the crucifixion and burial, and the first to find the tomb empty. And the first to be instructed to “go and tell” the others that, “He is not here. He is risen!”
God could have chosen anyone of the Twelve to be first to witness his resurrected body. He could have chosen a gardener, for that matter. But it was Mary Magdalene and other women who were chosen to be the ones to first see, to first believe, and then be the first to go and tell. In a culture and time period where women were never put first, Jesus sees them first.
Why these women?
First, I want to set in front of you a little timeline of the Women of Easter. It was in this looking back at the role of women, not just on Easter morning, but the days and weeks that led up to that day, that brought new insight and encouragement to me--prompting me to write about it for you.
Timeline of the Women of Easter
Since I have never sat down and read the 4 Gospel versions of Holy week in the span of a couple of days, I had never before connected all these women together as instrumental to the climax of Jesus’ life on earth--his death and resurrection. Not every account includes each of these women, so unless you read them all you’ll miss out on some of them. (Go check it out for yourself: Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 7-8 &, 22-24 and John 12 &18-20.)
What I want to do is pour into your mind ALL the amazing ways these stories are buzzing with nuances and details that SHOUT to my heart, this is the greatest story ever told--EVER. But that would likely end up being a novel. So, I am going to skim the cream off the top and present you with just enough to make you hungry for the contents of the rest of the cup.
Because I want you to walk away from this post with inspiration, encouragement and instruction. I want you to see two things: What these women did NOT have in common. And what these women DID have in common. I believe these two themes guide us to see how to apply some important truths to our own journey with Jesus and each other, on our way toward heaven.
First, what made each of these women unique (not alike)?
I hope you can see this very clearly--one’s age, socio-economic position, or marital status did not determine admittance onto Jesus’ ministry team nor did those determine who was included in the redemption plan of the Father. It didn’t then and it doesn’t now. Each of these women had a unique set of actions to contribute to the fulfillment of the story. And these were birthed out of their location, devotion, and proximity to Jesus. The Father placed each of them in their time and place. And he has done the same to us! God uses women (and men) from all backgrounds, statuses, and areas of achievement in his mission of the Kingdom. He places. He uses. He determines none of these on worldly standards or labels.
But for as much as these women were not alike, there is also an abundance of commonalities among them. It is these that I believe lend well to us learning how to take the words of Scripture and apply the inspiration found there to instruct our actions, attitudes and perspective.
In short, these women had the following in common:
And that is where I am going to pause you for today, because that is just a lot to think about and embrace. If you have found inspiration and encouragement from today's post, I look forward to having you to come back tomorrow for Women of Easter [part 2]: the Women of Easter + what these women had in common + what we can learn from them.
Her family and friends know her as, Jaci. She is the wife of a pastor, a mom of four, writing and communications education instructor, a visionary and an avid runner. As a firm believer in the power and effectiveness of the body of Christ united together to live out the Great Commission, she holds fast to this verse, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). Of equal importance to her are these words, "...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" (Hebrews 12:1).
Posts in the Run for Your Life, series: