1Very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, carrying the spices that they had prepared. 2 When they found the stone rolled away from the entrance, 3 they went in. But they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus, 4 and they did not know what to think.
Suddenly two men in shining white clothes stood beside them. 5 The women were afraid and bowed to the ground. But the men said, “Why are you looking in the place of the dead for someone who is alive? 6 Jesus isn’t here! He has been raised from death. Remember that while he was still in Galilee, he told you, 7 ’The Son of Man will be handed over to sinners who will nail him to a cross. But three days later he will rise to life.’” 8 Then they remembered what Jesus had said.
The Most Unlikely Witnesses
It’s a funny thing about the Kingdom, but God seems to choose some pretty unremarkable, foolish, outcast people to be the ones who get to share God’s best secrets with the world, and this final chapter of Luke is no different than the rest of his book in pointing out this very important fact.
Then we saw Jesus heal lepers and paralytics, an army officer’s servant and a widow’s son; a religious leader’s daughter and a bleeding woman; a crippled woman and a sick man; ten guys with leprosy (and only one of whom seemed to appreciate it) and a blind guy.
Who Would Trust Them?
And the one thing that ties all of these disparate people together is that they are all unlikely witnesses for Jesus.
I mean, if you wanted to organize an advertising campaign you might hire some celebrities, or some successful business people, or maybe some politicians; you might hire a really good film crew or an excellent graphic design artist; you might pay for billboards or a commercial slot for the Superbowl or hope that your video goes viral on YouTube.
But you wouldn’t entrust the message to a bunch of teenagers, some previously demon-possessed or sick folks any more than you would have entrusted it to a bunch of women back in Jesus’ day.
A Little Background
These women that go down to the tomb first thing on the first day of the week are the same women who have been following Jesus around for the past few years. They’ve thanklessly taken care of Jesus and his disciples – sometimes even footing the bill for food and other essentials – and we’ve barely heard anything about them.
When yet again, they show up to do the thankless task of a woman – to put oil and spices on the body of a deceased friend or relative as a final act of service and a final act of respect.
Except that’s not quite what ended up happening.
They go to the tomb, worried about how they’ll move the stone away, but the stone is already moved.
They enter the tomb, expecting to see Jesus’ body, but the body is gone. Only the burial cloth is left behind.
They look around in confusion – perhaps thinking that they had misremembered which ledge the body had been placed on, only to be met by two men in glowing white robes who tell them that Jesus is alive and that this was the plan all along!
By society’s standards at the time, these women are nothing less than their father’s daughters, their brother’s sisters, or their husband’s wives. They are property with duties and expectations but not a whole lot of dignity or value or worth.
These are the first people to find out that our story doesn’t end in despair, but in hope.
These are the first people to meet Jesus after he has risen again (according to Matthew).
And these are the first people to be given the job of going and telling others about the good news they have heard – a job that we soon discover is passed on to each and every person who hears the news themselves.
And maybe you sit there and wonder whether you count.
Maybe you wonder if you have anything to give.
Maybe you wonder if you have any reason to open your mouth and to tell your story of meeting Jesus.
But if you do, I hope the women – and the lepers and the paralytics and the blind and dead and the demon-possessed and the fisherman and the tax collectors and all of Jesus’ unlikely witnesses – will give you hope that there is a purpose and a reason and a value to your story being told.
A hope that Jesus’ love big enough to welcome you in to the Kingdom. A purpose, knowing that it’s big enough to give you some really important jobs to do. A reason, understanding that those jobs will help God’s Kingdom come in greater and greater measure because you showed up. And a deep sense of value as you realize the impact that comes from offering your piece of the story.
- If you wanted people to believe the story, who would you have sent first to the tomb?
- Why is it hard to believe the story of someone who society says is worth less than another?
- What does it mean to you and your story that Jesus keeps picking such unlikely witnesses?
- How can you start to tell your story of what Jesus has done in your life today?
This study is part of an entire journey through the book of Luke. If you’ve enjoyed it, please visit https://www.voxalliance.ca/category/devotionals/luke/ for the rest of this series.