Currently, I am attending Bible College. The class I recently finished took an in depth look at every single book written within the New Testament. I had the opportunity to study the spread of first century Christianity, the men considered closest to Christ, and most importantly the man, the ministry, and the Messiah himself. Week after week, we peeled away the layers of Scripture and the deeper significance behind the words. The Bible came alive and as I studied the synoptics (Gospels) in greater detail, a particular set of Scriptures stood out. When Jesus hung upon the cross, the Gospel of Mark tells us in Mark 15:40-41 “Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James the younger and of Joseph), and Salome. They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for him while he was in Galilee. Then they and many other women had come with him to Jerusalem.”

Before we go any further, I need for you all to understand one key aspect here. Women and especially children, were not even considered “second class citizens” but were among the lowest levels of society within the early Jewish culture. Women were not even permitted to speak publicly in church meetings (1 Corinthians 14:34-35).

Looking back at the scene of the crucifixion in Mark 15:47 we are told that “Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where Jesus’ body was laid.” Chapter 16 verses 1-2 opens with the following “The next evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene and Salome and Mary the mother of James went out and purchased burial spices to put on Jesus’ body. Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise, they came to the tomb.” These women could do very little leading up to the crucifixion. They could not speak before the Jewish high council in Jesus’ defense, nor could they appeal to Pilate or the Roman guards who beat and mocked him. Yet, even when the disciples had fled for their own lives, these women remained at the feet of Jesus. They followed his body and prepared spices to take to the burial tomb. The preparation of such spices resembled a sign of love, respect, and devotion. Take note here, it is absolutely NO coincidence that these very women were the FIRST to encounter the angel at the opened tomb, and witnessed the miraculous wonders of the resurrected Christ. God blessed their diligence and devotion, as these women used the opportunities they did have, instead of dwelling on those they did not.

Do not for one second believe the lies of the enemy that you are “just a woman” for as I briefly touched on above, women featured prominently in the accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection and at the Pentecost. Again, this is truly NO mistake. A woman’s testimony during this time period was considered to be worthless, yet God used these very ladies to inform the disciples of what had just occurred. Could you imagine the level of pure joy that must have ensued when they looked upon the presence of Christ early that Sunday morning? Their faithfulness was profound, and God surely rewarded them for it.

My prayer for each of you today is that you are able to better recognize the significance and importance you have not only as a woman, but a woman of God. We are so blessed to reside in a country where we can share our faith. Take FULL advantage of that! I pray that He grants you the ultimate wisdom to act upon the opportunities you do have to remain steadfast and devoted to being a witness for Him. The women accounted for here could have lost their very lives for exhibiting their faithfulness. What do you have to lose?

Stefanie Calens