The Significance of Women in Luke: The Cross and Resurrection

The Women of the Crucifixion and Resurrection

As the Gospel draws near to the final events in Jesus’ life on earth, Luke sets the stage for true spirituality and discipleship. The first encounter comes when Peter is questioned by a servant woman who recognizes him as a follower of Jesus (22:55-58). She had nothing to lose and was not a disciple of Christ, yet it is her truthfulness compared to Peter’s denials that foreshadows the fateful final hours. It was not Peter or the other disciples who responded in truth, but it is the women who appear in the remainder of the Gospel who show true faith.[1]

The next encounter is with the women who lament Jesus’ suffering (23:28-31). Christ tells them that their mourning should be over the failure of the people to recognize the gift of God. These women weep for themselves and their children as keepers of the vision, but in this moment they must face the truth in the darkness of the crucifixion.[2]

Instead of Luke focusing on the women standing under the cross as depicted elsewhere, Luke notes that they followed behind the body to see where Jesus was laid (23:55-56). Their role as the first to receive the news of the resurrection (24:9-11) is more significant. Unlike the other three Gospels, Luke does not record that it was a woman who first saw the resurrected Christ.[3] However, the women are the first to receive the message of the resurrection, and to act as disciples to spread the good news to the others, even though the apostles did not believe them.[4] Of particular note, when the angels speak to the women, the angel tells the women to “remember” what Jesus told them. Most of Jesus’ sayings about death and suffering were in private to His disciples (9:22, 43-45; 17:25; 18:31-34), therefore indicating the women were also being instructed by Jesus.[5]

Since Luke involves many women in the birth and surrounding events of Christ, it is appropriate that women were at His death, and the first to see His resurrection from the womb of the grave.[6] The faithfulness of the women who followed Jesus was rewarded with joy on the resurrection morning. Luke makes special mention of the women that followed (23:40) and remained faithfully standing by during the crucifixion and did not leave, unlike the multitudes that left and the disciples that abandoned Jesus.[7]

[1] Ibid, 201.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Rosalie, “The Women from Galilee and Discipleship in Luke,” 59.

[6] Benson, “The Women of Luke’s Gospel.”

[7] Rosalie, “The Women from Galilee and Discipleship in Luke,”58.


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