The willingness of the women
Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body. Mark 16:1
As soon as the Sabbath came to an end, these three women started their preparations for anointing the body of Jesus. The Sabbath ends about 40 minutes after sunset, as soon as three stars are seen in the sky. That was probably between 5:30 and 6pm. They knew that they wouldn’t have time to anoint Jesus’ body; that would have to wait until the Sunday morning. But they had enough time to go to the market to purchase the spices they were going to need.
The women’s minds must have been in absolute turmoil. Jesus, their master and friend, had been taken away from them in the most violent and disturbing manner. The disciples had all gone into hiding, but the women knew what needed to be done and were determined to do it. They were clearly incredibly courageous. The Romans would have been unhappy to see anyone giving attention to Jesus’ body. But they knew that this was something they could and should do. It reminds us of the woman who anointed Jesus in Bethany only a few days before. Like her, they did what they could.
The following morning, it would be the women who were the first to witness the empty tomb. They had the front seats for the resurrection. It would have astonished any Jewish observer that women should have such a key role.
There was a Jewish saying that ran: “Happy is he whose children are male, and alas for him whose children are female.” In the Jewish morning service, one prayer was: “Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has not made me a woman.” They prayed this after similarly thanking God that they were not heathen or slaves. Clearly, with the death and resurrection of Jesus, a completely new chapter had begun.
What impresses you about the willingness of the women to anoint the body of Jesus?
Loving Father, help me to be willing to serve you, however difficult it might be. Amen