Women’s Intuition

Another personal and biblical Easter reflection, based on Luke 24.1-12, this time, via the portal and pathway of imagination and literary license, from the inside out, on Friday in Easter Week, April 26, 2019.

Note: The women disciples were told, albeit, supernaturally, by angels, that Jesus rose from the dead. The male disciples, when told by the women what had been told to them, considered their testimony “an idle tale and they did not believe them” (Luke 24.11). In this, it seems to me, Easter, among manifold aspects, makes a case for what I term gender-specific spiritual acuity. In other words, the women, who, in their witness to the resurrection of Jesus, were the first evangelists, colloquially speaking, “got it” whilst the men didn’t.

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Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women, in silent sorrow, walk toward the tomb.

Mary Magdalene interrupts the quiet, her sad words coming slowly, softly: “That was…is the most horrible day I ever have known.”

All nod in anguished agreement, recalling how the sun went down on that awful Friday of Jesus’ crucifixion and death, how, with the coming sabbath, Jesus’ body hastily was taken from the cross and entombed, how there was no time for the customary burial preparations.

Now, at dawn on the week’s first day, they take spices for the anointing of his body.

All wonder, but none aloud, for none has a solution, how they will move the stone that seals the mouth of the tomb. Though huge, it cannot be heavier than the crushing weight of their grief.

Arriving, the stone is rolled away!

Startled, they imagine the worst. Grave robbers, knowing that families bury valuables with the bodies of their loved ones, often break into tombs. When finding no loot, they, at times, mutilate the bodies.

Fearing what they might find, their hands over their mouths, their hearts in their throats, they peer into the tomb.

They see no body!

Relieved, they exhale, but then, horrified, they fear Jesus’ body has been stolen!

Mary Magdalene, frowning, gazes blankly in disbelief.

Joanna stands nearby, eyebrows arched in a question mark of confusion.

The other women lift their hands in a plaintive plea for help.

Suddenly two blindingly bright figures appear.

The women, as if slain, fall to the ground in fear more chilling than the tomb’s damp floor.

The figures speak, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here. He has risen! Remember how he told you the Son of Man must be crucified, and on the third day rise,” but there is no sound. Rather their words resound within the women with the suddenness of thought!

Immediately, their fear disappears. Lighthearted, lightheaded, their spirits float as on air. Spontaneously, they shake, the walls of the tomb reverberating with their laughter. They embrace, forming a quivering circle of joy.

Mary Magdalene, again, speaks first. “At Caesarea Philippi, when Peter called Jesus ‘Messiah,’ he spoke of dying and rising. Do you remember?”

All nod vigorously.

Mary, the mother of James, clears her throat, “Yes, I remember! Do you also recall that he told us he would be betrayed?”

All nod solemnly.

One of the other women, her joyful countenance falling, whispers, “I remember, too, that we didn’t want to understand. I admit I was afraid to ask. I didn’t want to hear his answer. As we neared Jerusalem, as if to remind us, he told us again, ‘I will be killed and on the third day rise.’”

Joanna, unable to constrain herself, rejoices, “It’s all come true! I can’t believe it, but I believe! Jesus is risen!”
Joanna, gospel woman, witness to Jesus’ death and resurrection, Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937)

They race from the tomb, laughing breathlessly, lungs burning, hearts bursting, not from the exertion alone of running so far, so fast, but in the exquisite exultation of the news they have to tell.

Rapidly, repeatedly, they declare it, seeking to discern which way sounds best:

Jesus is risen!”

“Jesus is risen!”

“Jesus is risen!”

Jesus is risen!”

However we proclaim it,” Mary Magdalene exclaims, “it means the same! Forever, we are free to be who God created us to be!”

Her sisters, in accord, cry out, “Amen!”

 

Illustration: Joanna, gospel woman, witness to Jesus’ death and resurrection, Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859-1937)

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