When Women Aren’t Believed
By Susannah Wollman
“Don’t look at me like that! Why don’t you believe me?” She was indignant and heartbroken at the same time. It seemed like every time she tried to tell her husband something, he laughed, ignored her, or simply didn’t believe what she said.
Why is this such a common occurrence among women—even Christian women—today? Have we simply come to a time in society that women think they have something to contribute, but men are still thinking like cave-men and consider women generally less able, less intelligent, or less likely to “get it right”? Are you among the many women who can relate to this scenario?
Well, don’t think you are alone. It happened in Jesus’ day, too.
Look at Luke 24:9-11 When they 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. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense (NIV, emphasis mine).
Can you imagine? You have gone with a few other faithful women to perform the women’s work of preparing the body of your crucified Lord for proper burial, and when you get there, the body is gone. And to make matters even more interesting, suddenly some angels appear and ask you why you’re looking for the living among the dead! Now, I don’t know about you, but that might make me tend to doubt what I myself was saying. How do you explain such a thing? I can just hear a bunch of us today. “Okay, well, they’ll never believe this, so let’s just say that some strangers said that his body had been removed. Or, um, that today was the day the exterminator was coming, and so they moved all the bodies out, temporarily, of course, and then… um… what are we going to say?”
So with a new dilemma—Do we tell them the truth? Why? Who’d believe us?—they head back to the “headquarters” of the disciples with the disturbing news. And then they did something totally unexpected.
The women simply told them what they’d seen and heard.
And what was the response? They didn’t believe the women. But wait! Read those next words. …because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Not, you notice, that they didn’t believe them because they were women. It had nothing to do with gender. It had to do with the fact that a body disappearing from a tomb is strange enough, but angels telling the women that “He is not here; he is risen, just as he said” sounds even stranger.
Yes, Jesus had forewarned them. Yes, they all heard his words. But so much had happened that they were totally unable to take it all in.
One thing I love about this whole scenario, though, is that God chose to reveal the fact of his Son’s miraculous resurrection first—to women. Never mind that the men didn’t believe what sounded like nonsense to them… God revealed it first to those first who would remember his words first.
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words. Luke 24:5b-8