Believe the women!
(read Matthew 28:1-10)
By Alexandra Anderson, April 2020
Darkness, earthquakes, stones rolled away, empty tombs, angels, women running, a mysterious command to go and tell. The Easter story is unbelievable! And that's the point. It was no normal event then, as it is not normal now, that someone should rise from the dead!
But what else could happen if, as the prophets had foretold, God who made the world had at last intervened to put things right again and, if Jesus of Nazareth really was, as the centurion said three days before, ‘ the Son of God'?
Surprisingly, it is the most unlikely bit of the story which shows that the Gospel writers really weren't making it up. In those days women were not regarded as reliable witnesses in a court of law. Even the early church in the first official statement of resurrection faith, fearing ridicule and incredulity thought it best to quietly remove them from the story (see 1 Corinthians 15.3-9) but as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John testify, they were there from the start. Paul in that same letter, said God chooses what is weak in the world, what the world counts as foolishness, to put to shame the power and wisdom of the world. The message of Easter is that God is doing something new, and, as Jesus said, the first shall be last and the last first. Giving the women pride of place in the story makes exactly that point. It is they not the men who are commissioned to carry this world - shattering message to Jesus' 'brothers' (verse 10).
‘Do not be afraid’ , says the angel (verse 5). If Easter has dealt with the greatest destroyer of all, death itself, what indeed is there to be afraid of? Why should we be afraid of anything, if Jesus has been raised from the dead, if the old world has cracked open like an Easter egg and a new world has been born?
From the very start, the news that Jesus is risen comes with a command to: 'Go!'. Go back to where it all began. And, as you obey the command of the angel, Jesus himself may perhaps meet you in person (verse 9). Take hold of him. Worship him. Easter is his day of victory. Make it yours too!
Happy Easter! Christ is risen!