Today we continue our look at the female disciples that Luke mentions throughout his Gospel. Their introduction in the opening verses of chapter 8 leads to a thread throughout Luke’s story of the “others,” or the “rest” of those that followed Jesus. Luke makes it clear that his story isn’t one of Jesus and the 12. It is also a story of the “others.”
As Luke’s narrative unfolds, we find Jesus arrested and on trial after being betrayed by Judas. At this point the 12 disappear from the story, except for Peter. Peter follows Jesus through part of the trial, but ultimately denies his relationship with Jesus three times, then disappears from the narrative until after the resurrection. Luke does focus on a particular group throughout the crucifixion and resurrection: the women.
“A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.”Luke 23:27 NIV
After Jesus breathes his last, and the centurion confesses Jesus’ righteousness, we are told that many of the witnesses of the crucifixion leave, except for some who stayed.
“But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.”Luke 23:49 NIV
“The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfume.”Luke 23:55-56 NIV
“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.”Luke 24:1 NIV
“When they (women) came back from the tomb they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.”Luke 24:9-10 NIV
“While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”Luke 24:36 NIV
So who were the first preachers of the resurrection? The women. Who did they tell? The Eleven and “the others,” both male and female. And who does Jesus appear to and commission after the resurrection? All of them! (And in case you are unsure of this, go to Acts 1:13-15 to see this continue.)
Luke makes it very clear. The commission to preach this news starting in Jerusalem (Lk. 24:47-48, Acts 1:8) is the responsibility of the Eleven, the women, and the others, as we’ve already seen them do! This commission by Jesus has not been retracted. Next week we’ll see how Luke carries this commission into the mission of the early church in Acts 1 & 2.