Saturday, September 9, 2017

Women in the Life of Jesus: Women at the Resurrection/Mary the Evangelist

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.  Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”
Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb.  So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first.  And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in.  Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there,  and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.  Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed.  For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.  Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.
But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb.  And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.  Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).
Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.-John 20:1-18 (NKJV)

There was a flurry of activity amongst the disciples on the day of Jesus’ resurrection!  As I was reading, I noticed that each account by all four Gospel writers gives different details.  There was lots of running back and forth it seemed like, with the women and the men.  It was like putting a puzzle together, but way more fun.  If you want to read all four accounts you can go to Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20.  

Apparently there were many women there that day.  Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, Salome who is the mother of James and John, Joanna, and the other women (as told to us by Luke.)  They had all come bringing spices to anoint Jesus’ body. Now, why would they do that?  Because they all still thought He was dead.

Even though Jesus had told His disciples repeatedly He would rise from the dead, apparently nobody believed Him.  After the women see the empty tomb, and hear the angel’s message, they go and tell the men.  But they think they are speaking “nonsense.”  Human frailty was on display that day, but nevertheless Jesus was still bringing comfort, truth, and encouragement to them all.

The first person Jesus appeared to was Mary Magdalene, so I want to spend a little time talking about her.  She actually gets to have a conversation with Him.  And He gives her a message.  

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.-John 20:17 (NKJV)
 Some have said that Mary Magdalene was an evangelist. The Greek word for evangelist means “bearer of good tidings.”  The Bible doesn’t refer to her as an evangelist, but it seems to me on that day she qualifies.  She was the first female to share the good news of the resurrection of Jesus.  She gets to tell the apostles that Jesus is alive and He is ascending to God.  

In Ephesians 4, there is a list of ministry gifts, but there is also a mention of His ascension as well.

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.  Therefore He says:
“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”
(Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?  He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, -Ephesians 4:7-12

According to Strong's Concordance, the Greek word for "men"  in Ephesians 4:8, And gave gifts to men, is the word "anthrōpos."  It means "man, human, mankind."

HELPS-Word Studies says "anthrōpos " relates to both genders (male and female) as both are created in the image of God – each equally vested with individual personhood and destiny.

In Great Truths to Live By, Kenneth Wuest explains, "There are two words in the Greek which mean man, anēr, which refers to a male individual of the human race, and anthrōpos, which is the racial generic term, and which has the general, generic idea of mankind.

The Lord has given these ministry gifts to women as well as men.  There is no distinction in this passage of scripture about whether men or women gets specific gifts.  It just says that the Lord gave “some.”  Just like the Lord privileged Mary Magdalene that day by giving her the opportunity to serve Him with that message, so He gives other women the same opportunity.  The ministry gifts listed in this passage are for serving.  We are all called to service in some way.
 Many blessings to you as you grow in the knowledge of Him,

To read more posts in this series, go here to Women in the Life of Jesus. 

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