“If I wrote a book called The Men of Easter it wouldn’t be a great story. It would be Judas betraying, Peter denying, and Thomas doubting, and the disciples not believing. I hate to say it. It’s just true.”-Liz Curtis Higgs (author The Women of Easter)
I’ve had my doubts about the historicity of the bible. There are so many reasons I believe it’s absolutely true now! One of those is the women.
If a Jew in the Ancient Near East wanted to make up a story they wouldn’t make so many women the stars. Easter itself hinges on the testimony of a woman!
In that place and time, if you killed someone and the only witness was a woman? You’d be home free! A woman’s testimony was worthless.
But there’s Mary of Magdala, the first to see the risen Christ. There she is in the story, out of breath running to the disciples, panting the Good News when she arrives. “He’s risen!”
Our story casts Mary of Magdala as the apostle to the apostles, the first name Jesus spoke in his resurrected body, the first to announce death’s defeat and the victory of Jesus! What work of fiction would dare such an outlandish plot and such an unlikely protagonist?
Nor would a Near Eastern fiction penned by Jew be so unflattering to so many men!
Where are the men of Easter? Betraying, denying, doubting, hiding, and refusing to believe Mary’s testimony.
I’m hard on men. I often find more to admire and emulate among Christian women in America today than among my fellow men. Women are outnumbering us in church almost 2 to 1. They’re out-giving us, out-serving us, out-praying us.
This isn’t my opinion. There’s a slew of data from researchers, non-profits, and denominations telling the same story: Women are still more likely to be the faithful witnesses of Christ while too many men are still betraying, denying, doubting, hiding, and refusing to believe Mary’s testimony: “He’s risen!”
I’m hard on men. Because the bible is. It pulls no punches at Easter, contrasting the faithfulness of the women who followed Jesus to that of the men who merely claimed to.
But Easter morning wasn’t the end of the story. Anyone’s story. Mary’s testimony was truth: Jesus had risen to raise…
In the end, Thomas set sail for India, taking the gospel farther than anyone else. Peter was forgiven on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and sent with the Good News from Jerusalem to Nero’s doorstep. Every disciple came to believe Mary, believe in the risen Christ, and raised up tens of thousands of disciples who went into all the earth baptizing and teaching in Jesus’ name.
In the end, the doubters believed, the betrayers confessed, and the cowards preached boldly to their deaths.
God, do it again. Change the stories of men.