“They left the tomb and broke the news of all this to the Eleven and the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them kept telling these things to the apostles, but the apostles didn’t believe a word of it, thought they were making it all up”.
Lk 24:9, 10, 11 EHP
In a court of law, witnesses are lined up by the prosecution and the defence. When the judge passes judgment, however, he or she will usually say just how credible the various witnesses have been. Witness one will be considered a credible witness, but two will be a “poor witness whose testimony cannot be relied on”.
In Jewish society women were not regarded as very credible witnesses in a legal sense. But it was first to them that the truth of the resurrection was given. And no matter how adamantly they spoke, the disciples dismissed their story as nonsense. But the truth was what counted, not the supposed credibility or lack of it in the story-tellers. Luke wanted the church to whom he wrote thirty years on to know exactly who the first witnesses were. It wasn’t just any old women. He was saying, in effect, “If you want to check it out, speak to these two Marys or Joanna”. We can marvel today at how strangely God entrusted this vital element of gospel truth to “small people”. It wasn’t to the people who, by Luke’s time, had become big names – John, Peter or Andrew – that God disclosed his truth. Yet these women were the people to whom he granted the priceless privilege of seeing the empty tomb. And they told the disciples. The disciples told others.
And today we are the little people who tell others.
Lord, spread the news far and wide.