“Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there. It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ” -Mark 15:40-16:8

Notice how women are mentioned all over Mark’s account of the resurrection. Women have been caring for Jesus for years. And now, Mark notes how it was women who cared for his dead body and women who discovered the empty tomb.

Mark was getting most of his data from first-hand accounts and recording them to spread the news within the first century. If you were telling a story you wanted people to believe in this era, you would not have included women. Their testimony was suspect. However, Mark seems to go out of his way to fill up his second-hand account with first-hand female characters.

Why do you think this detail matters?

We live in a culture where women have more value than they once did. Yet, there are still ways women and others are treated as lesser. This story of resurrection re-humanizes women as Jesus honors them for their nurturing servitude and partnership in spreading the gospel.

Just as Mark emphasized the worthiness of women’s partnership in the gospel, we too, can uphold others as being worthy of resurrection life.

Who do we see as unworthy of receiving the good news of resurrection? Take a moment to confess this before God and ask him to open your heart to reawaken your compassion for this person or peoples.