(Mary the mother of James) Her son was chosen as one of the disciples. At first she didn't understand what it was about that strange new teacher from Nazareth that made her son want to leave everything behind to follow him. Their simple life had once been enough. But it held no meaning until she met Jesus face to face.
(Salome) She had heard of Jesus a time or two. She wondered if he was the one they had been waiting for. Some called him Rabbi. Others questioned his sanity. She determined to find out for herself who he really was. The day he came to her village she saw his compassion, and experienced his forgiveness. This Jesus was not like any other man she had met. Surely he was the Messiah.
(Woman caught in adultery) Scripture does not name her. But Jesus knew her name. She never forgot the day the Pharisees brought her before him. They wanted to stone her. But Jesus set her free. When she lifted her eyes and saw that none had cast stones and that all of her accusers had gone, something in her heart changed. The man from heaven let her walk away in peace. Forgiven.
(Mary, sister of Lazarus and Martha) She was labeled a sinful woman. The entire community knew who she was. But when she heard that the man from Galilee was dining at a Pharisee's house, she thought nothing of her reputation. Not noticing the dirty floor, she fell at his feet. With shaking hands she poured the perfume. Tears of humility and admiration flowed. To wipe his feet with her hair was her greatest act of love.
(Mary Magdalene) Day and night she had been tortured. The voices, the tremors. Yet with one spoken word, it stopped. The seven demons left her, and never returned. The freedom she thought she would never experience was handed to her with compassion by this man called Jesus. He was more than just a teacher. He was her savior.
These, and many other women who are not named in Scripture, are all women who played a unique role in the ministry of Jesus Christ. Each had received deliverance from the Messiah, and because of their deliverance, they believed in who he was. Whether delivered of evil spirits, or healed of infirmities, each woman had been touched by God at the very core of their being. They had once been identified by their reputations. Adulterous. Possessed. Unclean. Barren. But God gave them new life.
In return, these women dedicated their lives to providing for Jesus' needs. Whether it was giving of their money or food, preparing meals, or washing his feet, they all served the man who had redeemed their life from the hands of Satan. By doing this, they touched the very heart of God.
At his crucifixion, women were again found at Jesus' feet, this time in shock and sorrow. The life of the man they had served so faithfully and lovingly was ending, and they felt helpless. Their last desired act of faith was to anoint his body for burial. But with the Sabbath quickly approaching, there was no time for a proper burial. God was setting the stage for heaven's greatest reward.
Having risen before sunrise to prepare burial spices, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary the mother of James, Salome, Joanna, and others, made their way to the tomb. They all believed that it would be the last time they would see him. At the tomb, they were greeted by two angels seated on the stone that had been rolled away. The women were told he was no longer there, that he had risen from the dead. As they ran to tell the other disciples what they had witnessed, they were greeted by the risen Messiah himself.
At the sound of his voice, they were again at his feet. Emotions of joy and bewilderment flooded their hearts. God had rewarded their kindness and servanthood to His Son by allowing them to be the first ones to witness the resurrected Christ. The women who had gone to the tomb to serve were in turn being served by God Himself. He had seen all the things that had gone unnoticed by others. And because of their selfless desire to put the Son of God first in their life, they were the first to witness the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven.