Women of Easter

April 21, 2019

Rachel Held Evans, in her 2015 blog series entitled “The Women of Holy Week” shares the following (bold added for emphasis):

When referring to the earliest followers of Jesus, the Gospel writers often speak of two groups of disciples: the Twelve and the Women. 

The Twelve are the dozen Jewish men chosen by Jesus to be his closest companions and first apostles, symbolic of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Women are an unspecified number of female disciples who also followed Jesus, welcoming him into their homes, financing his ministry, studying his teachings, and often instructing the Twelve through their acts of faithfulness and devotion. 

Just as Jesus predicted, most of the Twelve abandoned him at his death (John 16:32). But the women remained by his side—through his death, burial, and resurrection.  It is during Holy Week that the stories of these women really shine. 

It is easy to dismiss the women of Holy Week, to say their presence at critical moments in the Easter story is inconsequential, holding no significance in modern-day conversations about gender equity in the Church.  But I’m not convinced it’s an accident that the first person to declare that Jesus had risen from the dead (to a group of skeptical men!) was a woman. I’m not convinced it’s unremarkable that God chose a woman to anoint the Messiah with oil and a mother to hear his cries from the cross. 

When the rest of the world had given up on Jesus for failing to look like the liberator they expected, the women stuck around.  They stuck around because before Jesus was a king, Jesus was their friend. And friends love one another through uncertainty, pain, fear, disappointment and even death

This felt meaningful today because most of our staff at Bridge of Hope are strong women doing Kingdom work together.  I am struck by the parallels between these women of the Bible and their devotion to Jesus and the support that Neighboring Volunteers bring to the families we serve:  sticking around when it feels like everyone else has given up on the family, being a friend, loving another through uncertainty, pain, fear and disappointment.

Join me in this Easter Prayer:  Jesus, on this Easter Sunday, let us remember that, above all, we are called to love our neighbors. You have shown us how to live, may we share your love with those who are hurting, vulnerable and homeless around us.  Amen.

Women of Easter