By Kenneth Tanner
If you were inventing a story that you wanted people in the ancient world to believe as fact, the last thing you’d want to do is start with a woman seeing someone walking around alive whom everybody already knew was dead as a doornail.
Almost no one in the ancient world accepted the word of a woman as an eyewitness: not in court, not in a family dispute, not in everyday life. They were not considered reliable.
Silly of the ancients to be that way about women but that’s the way it was. And it’s one of the reasons the gospel accounts of the resurrection are believable.
Mary Magdalene—from whom Jesus cast out many demons before she repented and followed him to the bitter end and beyond—is the first disciple to whom Jesus appears.
Not just a woman but that woman, a woman who was possessed … ‘don’t you remember?’ some must have said. Folks in Rome or Jerusalem or Athens or Corinth were supposed to buy this story? No, these eyewitness accounts aren’t made up. They tell it like it was—like it is—and leave belief to us.
Now, they had beaten Jesus so badly before they nailed him to the cross that he would likely have died anyway. He lasted in extreme agony for three hours on the cross. He bled out before they put a spear through his dead heart. The cross was overkill: brutal, nasty, unjust, and inexcusable. But it’s what we humans do when God shows up.
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