Abiding Presence

Many women were [at the Crucifixion], watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee's sons....
[Joseph of Arimathea] rolled a big stone in front of the entrance and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there across from the tomb....
- Matthew 27:55-56, 60

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. - Luke 24:1

Is it any surprise that these women, most of whom we know only through their relation to certain men, were the first witnesses to Jesus' Resurrection? There is a sense from the gospels that, especially in Jesus' last days and hours, they were always there. Wherever Jesus was, wherever faithful obedience called them to be, they were there.

The gospel writers did not often mention or acknowledge the women's presence and their faithful support of Jesus and his ragtag, often confused male disciples - including their own sons. But certainly these nearly anonymous women were there. One can imagine their humble, behind-the-scenes presence everywhere from Jesus' feeding of the 5,000, to his healing of the paralytic man who was lowered through the roof, to his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Maybe the women were even there in the upper room, serving that last supper to Jesus and the 12 disciples.

We rarely hear about these ever-present women until the end of Jesus' life, until things have gotten so bad that the male disciples have scattered, leaving Jesus alone and betrayed in his darkest hours. The women, however, are still there. They are with Jesus at the Crucifixion, the burial, the sealing of the tomb. And we hear about them now because they are the only ones there.

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