Radical Easter Trust
…and then I realized that I’d already written it! So, enjoy this post from the archives, from Easter 2013.
Turns out we have a little candy thief in our house. I won’t identify this person, but her name may or may not rhyme with “juicy.”
At any rate, time and again we’ll catch our little sneak with a mouth full of Starburst, or with hands full of Snickers wrappers.
And what follows is the trust conversation. You know, the one that says “mommy and daddy want to be able to trust you, and when we catch you sneaking candy like this, it makes it difficult for us.” And then what follows that are a few tears accompanied by heart-felt promises of that it won’t happen again. Until the next time. All of this illustrates something important:
Trust is at once vital and fragile.
After all, what’s more important that trust? And yet what’s more tender? You and I know the joy of being entrusted with something important, and we also know the pain of trust trampled and broken.
Jesus was born into a world where women were not trusted with much. In fact, outside the narrow confines of their domestic roles, women basically weren’t entrusted with anything. In particular, in Jesus’ day, women were not allowed to be witnesses in the court. Why? You couldn’t trust their testimony. Here’s how commentator and theologian Craig Keener puts it:
“Jesus’ Jewish contemporaries held little esteem for the testimony of women; this reflects the broader Mediterranean culture’s limited trust of women’s testimony, a mistrust enshrined in Roman law.”
With this in mind, we have no choice but to describe Jesus’ decision to entrust two women with the first news of his miraculous resurrection as utterly, spectacularly:
In Matthew 28:8-10, Gospel writer Matthew records the story this way:
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Let’s be clear on this: in a culture where women weren’t entrusted with anything outside the home, much less serving as witnesses in a court of law, Jesus entrusted the first message of the resurrection to two women.
Yep, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were the first humans to bear witness to the most pivotal event in human history.
It’s revolutionary, but it’s also a pattern. Just ask the woman at the well inJohn 4, entrusted not only with the Messiah’s revealed identity but with bringing the good news to her town. Just ask Susanna, Mary and Joanna the wife of Chuza, entrusted in Luke 8 with bearing the financial burden of supporting Jesus’ work. Or just ask the unnamed woman from Mark 14, entrusted with the task of anointing Jesus’ body for burial.
One of the effects of male privilege is that as a culture we are slow to place our trust in women. Need a plane flown right? Get a man to do it. Need an important decision made? Find a man. Need a sermon preached right? Hopefully there’s a male pastor nearby.
Our bias is to trust men more than women.
This morning I’m thankful (and challenged) that Jesus had a different bias.