Vesta P. Crawford, “The Women of Easter,” The Relief Society Magazine, April 1949, 256.
Many devoted students of the Bible sometimes regret that so little is told of the life of the Savior. And yet the words of the gospels glow with a lasting brightness which has become the heritage of all who believe his word. The brief paragraphs which tell the Easter story are among the most beautiful in the Bible, and surely they are of utmost significance, for they bear the message of everlasting life.
It is of particular interest to women that the narrative of Easter mentions several of the faithful sisters who were followers of the Master. St. Matthew tells us that “… many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him.” Among these women was Mary of Magdala who had listened to the words of Jesus on the western shore of the Lake of Galilee. Mentioned also by Matthew was another Mary, the mother of James and Joses. Among these devoted women was Joanna, the wife of Chuza, King Herod’s steward (Luke 8:3 and 24:10). Standing at the foot of the cross was the mother of Jesus, and with her was the wife of Cleophas.
In the evening, after Joseph of Arimathea had wrapped the Master in fine linen and laid him in the rock tomb, “there was Mary Magdalene (Mary of Magdala) and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre” (Matt. 27:61).
It is mentioned by both Matthew and Mark that Salome, the wife of Zebedee, the fisherman of Bethsaida, was with the other women. She was the mother of the disciples James and John. It was she and the other women who brought, on the morning of the first day of the week, precious ointments and spices for anointing the body of Jesus. The story of these women is beautifully told, and it is a precious picture we have, one that has been, in part, repeated through centuries wherever women have given gentle and kindly ministrations in times of sorrow.
And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
Then they saw that the stone had already been rolled away and the tomb was empty.
It was a woman who first saw Jesus after his rising from the tomb. As St. Mark tells us “… he appeared first to Mary Magdalene … And she went and told them that had been with him as they mourned and wept.”
How fitting it is that the women of Easter were early on that morning and that they were the glad bearers on that day of the tidings of eternal life, that a woman first beheld the risen Lord before he went unto Emmaus and into Galilee.