Were You There? Mary Magdalene and Mary Were
It’s the beginning of Holy Week, and so I thought it was appropriate for Music Monday to post one of my favorite old hymns by Johnny Cash called “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” I found this live video of Johnny with the Carter sisters:
I wasn’t there when they crucified my Lord. I wasn’t there when they took Him from the cross. I wasn’t there when they laid Him in the tomb. I wasn’t there when the stone was rolled away. But I’ve read the testimony of those who witnessed all of these events. And just thinking of these things that He did for me causes me to tremble.
There were many witnesses to Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. As necessary as these events were for our salvation, if they had been the end of the story it wouldn’t have been enough. The greatest of these events is the Resurrection. The account of the first witnesses to the Resurrection was recorded in Matthew 28:
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Matthew 28:1-8 (NIV).
One thing I find quite interesting about this passage is that the first witnesses were the women. During this time, the testimony of a woman was not admissible in a court and essentially meant nothing. But both the angel of the Lord, and further on in the passage Jesus, tell them to go tell the disciples what had happened. And Matthew, in his effort to give a full and accurate account of the event, told it like it happened.
I have heard arguments that Jesus did not really rise from the dead, but that the disciples stole His body from the tomb and then made up a story about His resurrection. But if the disciples were trying to perpetrate a fraud and wanted to convince others that their lie was true, they would never have told it in such a way as to rely on the testimony of women.
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there when Jesus was crucified, when they took Him from the cross, when they laid Him in the tomb, and even when the stone was rolled away. Their testimony of what they saw has been passed on to us today in the Gospels and I choose to accept the testimony of these women. How about you? I know you weren’t there either, but you can trust the witness of those who were.
This is a great post, Linda! I came and read this yesterday, hit the ‘like’ button and ran off, trying to convince myself not to write my thoughts. As you can see, it didn’t work. 🙂
“I have heard arguments that Jesus did not really rise from the dead, but that the disciples stole His body from the tomb and then made up a story about His resurrection. But if the disciples were trying to perpetrate a fraud and wanted to convince others that their lie was true, they would never have told it in such a way as to rely on the testimony of women.”
The resurrection is the pillar upon which the Christian faith is built. If He was still in the grave, we would have had no hope! Zero! Zilch! Nada! Those who concocted the lies knew how important it was for His words to be fulfilled so they would do all they can to distort truth. It’s no different now. There are still those who spend their lives trying to disprove what He’s accomplished. That changes nothing. He’s alive! He’s risen! We have eternal life through His death and resurrection. Like you, I choose to believe it happened this way even though I wasn’t there to see it.
Thanks again for sharing, Linda. Your Easter themed posts are giving me much to think about.
Ann, He is risen, indeed! (Thanks for giving me the perfect opportunity to say that even before our Easter service. That is my favorite part of our service – when the pastor says “He is risen!” and the whole congregation responds “He is risen, indeed!”) You are right, those who still try to distort the truth and disprove what He has done (and is still doing) don’t change a thing. We both know He has accomplished what was impossible for man to do alone and had changed us both to be more like Him. I’m so glad you did come back and share! Peace, Linda
“the testimony of a woman was not admissible in a court and essentially meant nothing.” Thank you Linda for adding this one, another angle that shows that God isn’t working based on society’s norm.
I have only one question, if God isn’t alive today how come He has been with us? 🙂
Rea, That is so true that God doesn’t work based on society’s norms. Good question! Too bad those who believe He is not alive today would never see the rhetorical nature of such a question, but would simply answer that He never was with us. I am so glad we know He is alive and living in us. Peace, Linda
This is such a great post Linda, and the comments too. Thank you for what you have done, led by Him, to prepare our hearts and minds for this week, for this time, for Him. God bless you as we tremble together.
Deb, Thanks, I’m glad you liked it. Peace, Linda
have you read ‘who rolled the stone’ – can’t quite think who wrote it, but it’s a really good (and not too hard going) read about the politics and general set-up of the time and does a lot of ‘myth busting’ – like the idea that the disciples moved Jesus’ body.
Char, I haven’t read that one, but will look for it on Amazon.com. Not that I need to add anything to my current reading list, but I can’t resist a good book about Jesus. 😉 Peace, Linda
Awesome post, to me it underscores faith. Faith is a belief not on what is seen, but rather what is known. I know He rose from the dead, why would the creator of the universe stage a hoax? The questions to His resserrection come from the devil himself, in his attempt to insert question into our minds. The debate as to whether Christ rose is a dead debate, and anyone who believes He didn’t rise will truly not dwell with Him. Although I believe we need to honor Christ daily with service, I can’t help but feel an apprehension (pleasant) in the week leading up to Easter. The immensity of what He and God did for us weighing down on my heart, and filling it with hope and gratefulness. Great post-God Bless
Jim, You are right that the lies about the resurrection being a hoax come from the devil, and they started right after the wonderful event itself. As recorded in Matthew 28:
I know what you mean about how you feel during this Holy Week. Although we must honor Him daily, this week is special for me, very contempletive, as I ponder the wonder of what He has done for me. Peace, Linda