Join the Women of Easter

Some were mentioned by name.
Others were never identified, but throughout the life of Jesus, we learn that there were “certain women” who traveled with Jesus, who welcomed Him when he needed a meal or a place to stay, who “provided for Him out of their means.”  It is significant that there is no record in Scripture of any of these women flagging in their loyalty, denying Jesus, or abandoning Him when the chips were down.  A group of them were present at the cross, and then, without even realizing the significance of their actions at the time, certain women showed up at the tomb and bore witness to the resurrected Christ.

It was clear that God had chosen them to be there.

Liz Curtis Higgs honors The Women of Easter with her carefully constructed re-telling of the final weeks of Jesus’ life.  Liz focuses on Mary of Bethany, Mary of Nazareth, and Mary Magdalene, but also shares the stories of other women as they meander across history’s stage.  Rather than lifting her protagonists out of the story one by one with three distinct bios, she considers them in context as they interact with each other, with Jesus, and with other major players within the narrative arc of Scripture.

With her characteristic humor, insight, and thorough research, Liz shares powerful wisdom from the lives of first-century women that (if we let it!) will impact the way we follow Christ in the 21st century, because, the truth is that you can spot a Woman of Easter by the way she lives:

 Women of Easter are transformed by seeking what is “needful.”  

Mary of Bethany understood that there is a time for bustling around and being productive — and there is a time for quietly listening.  Big Sister Martha must have eventually absorbed some of that lesson along the way, because when their brother Lazarus died, “she who served the food also dished out the truth: “It is for Your coming, [Jesus,] that the world has waited.”  God had chosen one of His faithful women to make the bold proclamation that Jesus’ decisive “I am” was a revelation of His identity.   Martha’s response was a resounding, “Yes, I see that YOU ARE!”

Women of Easter recognize that Jesus endured the cross because we were “the joy set before Him.”

Mary of Bethany understood that when she anointed Jesus’ feet with valuable oil, she was performing an act of worship.  John 12 informs us that “Martha served” that day, and so together, the sisters showed up and met a need in preparation for Jesus’ future act of redemption which, at the time, they could have only dimly understood.

All our worship and all our acts of righteousness flow from the cross.  Just as Jesus took joy in the small gift of a widow, He sees our small gifts, and He rejoices, calling them “good.”

Women of Easter know when to stand back and watch Jesus at work.

Mary of Nazareth (Jesus’ mother) shows up in quiet maturity at the Wedding in Cana, and she set the stage for her Son to perform the first of many signs “through which He revealed His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.”  Scripture does not record Jesus saying, “Thanks, mum!” but actions speak louder than words, for while He was hanging on the cross in agony, He made provision for her future by asking John to take her into his home.

While four soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ clothing, four women stood with Him in quiet support:  Mary, Mary’s sister (possibly Salome?), Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  These women were standing on a risky piece of real estate, for the Romans were not above inflicting the same terrible punishment upon families of an enemy of the state who was being crucified.  With Jesus’ feet only about a yard above the ground, these women were witnessing His suffering close by — and even so, Jesus was utterly alone in His anguish.  It could not have been an easy vigil for these brave women, but they kept watch while Jesus shook hell’s gates.

Women of Easter stay close to Jesus even when hope seems gone.

While there is no Scriptural evidence that Mary Magdalene was actually a harlot, the Bible does inform us that Jesus cast seven demons out of her.  Her background is . . . challenging, perhaps; nonetheless, she “is mentioned by name fourteen times across all four gospel accounts.”  Loyal, fearless, and willing to do whatever she needed to do to support her beloved Teacher, Mary Magdalene showed up at the garden tomb, not really sure how she was going to achieve her goal of rolling away a huge stone in order to attend to Jesus’ body.  My take-away from this is that when we show up for the impossible, we might be surprised at how God takes care of the details.

Women of Easter realize that it’s all about relationship.

Our first-century sisters didn’t realize that they were going to be eye-witnesses to the most important event in history.  They came to the tomb to attend to the dead body of a much-loved friend/relative and found a living, breathing Savior!  Then, having been commissioned by the risen Christ to share the good news, Mary Magdalene trumpeted the truth that changes everything:  “I have seen the Lord!

Liz shares the encouraging truth that even the very first Easter was not a picture perfect affair.  No.  It was “full of disbelief, fear, and confusion” as even Jesus’ closest disciples struggled to absorb the truth.

Likewise, with our Easter bonnets askew and our Resurrection Sunday dinner menus still up in the air, we are invited to come, by faith, to the empty tomb.  We are invited to rejoice, and we have been charged with the privilege of sharing the good news. By faith, we, too, are The Women of Easter.

//

This book was provided by the publisher through Blogging for Books in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Published by

Michele Morin

I am a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. I have been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 27 years, and our four children are growing up at an alarming rate. Nonetheless, two teens still remain at home, and along with an incorrigible St. Bernard, we laugh, make messes, clean them up, and then start all over again. I love hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop me in my tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. I lament biblical illiteracy and advocate for the prudent use of "little minutes." I blog at Living Our Days because "the way I live my days will be, after all, the way I live my life." You can connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

54 thoughts on “Join the Women of Easter”

  1. Dear Michele,
    Wow, what a great combination of women to read about, in one book. Thank you for sharing it here. And what a wonderful way to approach this time: “Likewise, with our Easter bonnets askew and our Resurrection Sunday dinner menus still up in the air, we are invited to come, by faith, to the empty tomb.” Jesus enters into our confusion, and calls us to HOPE in Him right there–to find His New Life. Blessings to you!

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  2. So grateful for your beautiful and thoughtful review, Michele. It’s my joy to spend time with our biblical sisters, then share what I’ve learned with our contemporary sisters. Thanks so much for all you do to encourage women to gather around His Word!

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  3. Women of Easter are transformed by seeking what is “needful.” I love all these analogies of what the women of Easter did. “Know when to stand back and watch Jesus at work.” So many things that we can do too! Thanks for sharing these, Michele.

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  4. Michele,
    I love Liz’s writing and how she chooses to highlight the women in the Bible. It’s amazing, when you really dig into their lives and their roles, what an honored place God gives them in our spiritual history. We all could learn a lesson or two and also be encouraged by what great things God can do through us if we let Him.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

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  5. Beautiful thoughts, my friend. Can you imagine what it would have been like to be there, in person, walking with Jesus day by day, ministering to His needs? I cannot imagine…it just blesses me to even think about it. We will never have that opportunity, in a physical sense, but, on, in the spiritual! We can live our lives to please Him and by serving others, even the least of these, we are serving Him. Praise His name! Thank you for this encouragement, sweet friend. You are a blessing to me.

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  6. Michele, this sounds like a fabulous book with a lot of meaningful takeaways! I think my favorite one was what you said here: “My take-away from this is that when we show up for the impossible, we might be surprised at how God takes care of the details.”

    Showing up for the impossible—now that’s walking out faith, isn’t it? I’m so thankful God meets us in those places. He shows up too. 🙂

    Great review, Michele!

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  7. This sounds like a really good book. I have far too many books waiting to be read already but it’s great to at least get a taste of it here. I love the point that there is no record of the women abandoning or denying Jesus but that they stood by him the whole time.

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    1. Yes, I try to give my readers the essence of a book so that they profit from the author’s wisdom even if they can’t manage to read the book. And Liz makes MANY good points about these women — the one you mentioned being one of my favorites.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. How cool that Liz left a comment here today??? I love her books and style of writing. She opened my eyes in new ways to Ruth who is my favorite woman of the Bible. This book sounds just as fascinating.

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  9. Beautiful, Michele! All great points! I think it stands out so clearly these places and others that show how Jesus elevated women during a time and in a culture whee women were not traditionally honored or noted. It was a man’s world back then, but at every opportunity, Jesus shows his love and honor of them. It is little wonder that so many were drawn to Him! Blessings to you, my friend!

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  10. Looks like another great book to read Michele! I’m going to ask hubby to get it for me:)
    I can’t wait to read more about these women. the love they had for Jesus and the wisdom they can share to me.
    #SittingAmongFriends

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  11. This looks like such a powerful book, Michele. I hadn’t seen it before now. Thanks for sharing it. Liz Curtis Higgs does such a wonderful job of sharing the heritage of Biblical women, doesn’t she? — Thanks for the encouragement to show up for the impossible and watch God handle the details. 🙂 ((xoxo))

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  12. Liz has long been one of my very favorite authors, period. I love both her fiction and non-fiction books. I love how you are throwing Martha into Mary’s retelling… she is perhaps one of my very favorite women in the Word. 🙂 This looks like a must read for this season. Thanks, Michele!
    Blessings,
    Dawn

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  13. Michele – I love your review of Liz’s book. I love Liz’s heart and her perspective on the women of Easter too. All such powerful lessons for us today. Side note – I met Liz at a conference a few years back and she so graciously took the time to sit and brainstorm my book project and how to find the right publisher. Liz is a woman of much grace, wisdom, and she is genuine. She definitely lives as a Woman of Easter…. May I be a Woman of Easter as well. I so appreciate your linking up with me at #TuneInThursday I always enjoy reading your posts. See you next week.

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    1. I’m so impressed that Liz took the time to do that brainstorming session with you. You must have been so thrilled to have her perspective and experience on the job!
      And I’m with you, Debbie. I want us to be the women who show up at the empty tomb and believe words of hope– and then run and tell!

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  14. Wow! I enjoyed reading this post so much. Thanks for sharing this post at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com! I am so encouraged and will continue to seek out these women as I study the Biblical narratives in the weeks leading up to Easter!
    Tina

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  15. This book sounds so lovely and important. I love the picture of the bravery of these women who stood by Jesus at His time of testing. Thanks for sharing on the #LMMLinkup.

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