This is the second Sunday after Easter, and it looks at the very first moments of the Resurrection.
It’s early Sunday morning, the sun has just come up and the women can just make their way to the tomb, probably 5-6 am. On the way they discuss what they will be doing, with the require spices in hand, and how they will gain access to the tomb. They can’t count on the Roman guards helping them, or even allowing them anywhere near the tomb. Hell, the guards might not even let them anywhere near the tomb – they have their orders to guard the tomb against anyone who might try to steal the body; women or not orders are orders for a Roman soldier.
Just as they are arriving at the tomb there is an earthquake, the women and the soldiers are afraid (then as now earthquakes are a scary experience). The quake was so strong that it cause the stone to break its seal and fall away from the tomb. We are told the women look inside the tomb and see that the body is gone, an angel is there and tells them that Jesus has risen and to return to the Apostles and tell them what they have seen and have been told. The women go on their way, the guards rush back to the leaders of the Sanhedrin and make their report.
Let’s consider the implications of what happened:
Jesus rose from the dead. This is not like the little girl, the widow’s son, or even Lazarus, they were risen by someone else’s power – Jesus. Here, though, no one else was involved, Jesus came back under his own power.
The Apostles were in hiding, fear that the same authority that had Jesus put to death would come after them next, and they weren’t far from wrong. But here we have three gutsy women who are willing to risk everything to see that Jesus’ body was given a proper burial. Aside from the issue with the stone, going out that early in the morning, alone, was dangerous for a woman, this was the time of muggers, rapists, and other ne’er-do-wells. Even three women would not do well against an armed thief, but they were not going to let anyone (or anything) stop them.
Think of the implications, if you will, that the first people to witness the facts: the Resurrection were women, the first people to be asked to spread the Good News were women, and, unlike the Apostles, the women believed that Jesus had risen without actually seeing the risen Christ.
Yes, these were remarkable women, worthy of remembrance this Sunday, for now and all eternity.