The Women at the Empty Tomb

It is Holy Week, and as I reflect on God’s awesome plan of salvation, I am paying attention to the women that were present during Jesus’ life, crucifixion and death. The women of the New Testament show a devotion and spiritual sensitivity that inspires.

It begins with the angel’s appearance to the virgin. Mary gives an amazing response to the angel Gabriel. And Mary said, “Behold, I am a servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1: 38

The Annunciation
The Annunciation by Leonardo da Vinci

Elizabeth was able to respond to Mary’s unusual situation with joy. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”  Luke 1 :41-45

Mary & Elizabeth
The Visitation by Philippe De Champaigne

The widow, Anna, was there when Jesus was presented at the temple in Jerusalem.   [Anna] did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2: 37-38

Most of the disciples fled when Jesus was crucified, but a group of women were at the scene. But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. John 19:25-27

The women remained devoted to carrying out final care for Jesus. When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.   And  very  early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. Mark 16: 1-2

They were the first to learn of Jesus’ resurrection. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.

Women at the Empty Tomb
Resurrection of Christ and Women at the Tomb by Fra Angelico

But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” Mark 16: 5-7

He is Risen

God has gifted women in a way that is different from men.   I appreciate the sensitivity,  the nurturing and the care that  these  women   demonstrated. We can be inspired by their example as we rejoice in Jesus’ sacrifice for us and his resurrection.

Now adding a few words as I write for #FMF

If I read one verse further in Mark I can see the dips and turns that take place in a life of faith. The angel gave the good news to these devoted women but they were bewildered.

And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Mark 16:8

At times I see they way God is working in my life, but at other times I am fearful, wondering how things will turn out. But our Lord will never leave us there. He loves us with a love that is sometimes more than we can comprehend.

Wishing you a joyous Easter!

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Easter: A New Covenant

A New Covenant

 

Memories of the week leading up to Easter stretch back into my childhood. I was blessed to grow up in a home where we read the Bible and attended church regularly. Like any family we had problems, but the foundation for my faith developed from hearing the Word of God.

In past years I attended Maundy Thursday services. What is Maundy Thursday? It commemorates the day of the last supper. The following scripture describes this event.

And when the hour came, he relined at the table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.   For I tell you I will not eat it   until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks he said, Take this and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them saying, “This is my body that is given for you.   Do this in    remembrance of me.” And like wise the cup after they had eaten, saying , “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” Luke 22: 14-20

Communion was served on this quiet day of reflection. Communion symbolizes the new covenant.   God offers us forgiveness of sin and   salvation through Jesus. 

When my husband and I traveled to Israel we visited the site of a deep pit. The theory is that Jesus was held in this pit prior to the crucifixion.

Church of St. Peter, Jerusalem
The Church of St. Peter was built on the site of this dungeon in Jerusalem

It is hard to take in fully the pain and confusion that the followers of Jesus must have felt in the days between Jesus arrest and his triumph over death. Peter’s denial of Christ gives us a little glimpse.

St. Peter's Denial
Sculture in the Courtyard of the Church of St. Peter

Out of deep sorrow comes great joy. So much wonder and joy in the scene that the apostle John describes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look in the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” Having said this she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know it was Jesus.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”

Supposing him to be the gardener, she 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 in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means teacher). John 20: 11-16

 

New Covenant

One of my favorite songs on Easter morning is Christ Arose.

Death cannot keep his prey—Jesus my Savior!
He tore the bars away—Jesus my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes;
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!

I am praising God for the new covenant of grace.

Linking with Soul Survival,  Weekend Whispers, Word of God SpeakFaith Filled Friday and Friendship Friday