The Women Jesus Loved

By on April 1, 2015
The women Jesus loved

By Carole Towriss−

Her world had shattered. Jesus was dead.

He had been dead for two nights now. The Sabbath was over and she couldn’t sleep, so Mary of Magdala gathered some sweet spices she had bought earlier. Through a blur of tears, she placed them in a basket then tucked a cloth around the edges to keep them covered and secure.

Though it was still dark, she stepped from her house and headed out of Jerusalem toward the tomb Joseph of Arimathea had offered. He and Gamaliel would have prepared the body well—they had the funds to do so—but Mary and some of the other women wanted to add their own spices as a final act of devotion to the Master.

Their path grew even darker as they entered the grove where Joseph’s sepulcher lay. “Who will remove the stone for us?” Salome asked.

Mary only shrugged.

When they reached the tomb, however, the stone had already been removed. The women halted, looked to each other. They crept to the entrance, then peeked inside. Someone was there—but it was not the Master.

A young man clothed in brilliant white sat in his place. “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus, but He has risen! He is not here. See where where they laid him.” He patted the seat beside him. “Now go, tell his disciples and Peter that He is going to Galilee. You will find him there.”

The women left and ran back to find the men. “They have taken the Master from the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” John and Peter raced ahead of the others and found what Mary had found—an empty tomb.

While John and Peter tried to figure out where Jesus’ body was, Mary stood outside crying. Swiping at her cheeks, she looked inside once more. This time she saw two men in white. She blinked. Were her eyes playing tricks on her? She looked again. Still two, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

“Woman, why are you crying?” the taller of the two asked.

“They have taken my Lord away.” She tried to stifle her sobs. “I don’t know where they have put him.”

They didn’t respond. She sighed and turned away. Might as well go home. No one here was any help. John and Peter were ignoring her. She started down the path and noticed another man. She tried to skirt around him, but he reached toward her.

“Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Perhaps he was the gardener. Maybe he knew something the others didn’t. She drew in a shuddering breath. “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

He tilted his head and smiled. “Mary.”

Her heartbeat quickened. That smile. Those soft eyes. “Teacher!” She fell at his feet and grabbed at them, but he backed away.

“Don’t touch me. I haven’t yet returned to my Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”

She looked up at him, blinking away the tears so she could see clearly. The Master was alive! She ran to Peter and John. “I have seen the Lord!” She told them all the things he had told her.

They didn’t believe her. But she knew.

The Master was alive, and he had come to her first.

~~~~~

Jesus loved and valued women. All women. His behavior and attitude toward them was absolutely revolutionary.

Before you can understand how radical it was, consider this:

In the Jerusalem temple, women were limited to the women’s court, which was outside and five steps below the court for the men.

A rabbi regarded it beneath his dignity to speak to a woman in public.

A daily prayer of Jews read, “Praised be God that he has not created me a gentile; praised be God that he has not created me a woman; praised be God that he has not created me an ignorant man.” The reason for his thanksgiving was that these three groups were forbidden to study the Torah.

And yet:

Jesus allowed women to be His disciples, traveling with Him, teaching them.

He refused to stone a women caught in adultery, instead forgiving her.

When the woman with the issue of blood touched Him, she made Him unclean. Instead of rebuking her, He treated her with respect and healed her.

He rejected the notion that women are property and could be divorced at will.

He raised a woman and a girl from the dead, and a widow’s son. Lazarus was raised because of his sister’s entreaties, and it was to Martha He first declared Himself the Resurrection and the Life.

A woman first anointed Him, and a woman, Mary Magdalene, was the first person He sent to preach His resurrection. This in a world where a woman’s testimony was not valid in a court of law, even to defend herself.

Jesus treated women differently. He saw women as persons, as individuals, not as a vast class, generally inferior to men.

He treated women with respect. He spoke gently to each one, addressed her sin where necessary, forgave her, healed her, encouraged her.

Do you need the touch of Jesus in your life?

Come to Him. Let Him speak to you, touch you, teach you.

Delight in you.

 

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)

Carole Towriss

About Carole Towriss

Carole Towriss grew up in beautiful San Diego, California. Now she and her husband live just north of Washington, DC. In between making tacos and telling her four children to pick up their shoes for the third time, she reads, watches chick flicks, and waits for summertime to return to the beach. You can find out more about her Biblical fiction novels at http://www.caroletowriss.com/.

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The Women Jesus Loved