top of page


Easter Sunday - Witnesses to the Resurrection

Matthew 28:1-10

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Christ is risen, indeed! Alleluia!

How many of you have a tradition of baking bread for Easter? And who is the one who bakes the bread?

My mother’s side of our family is Ukrainian, so my mom and my sister always bake Paska bread together. They bake the Paska bread during Holy Week, and place it in a basket with other traditional foods: horseradish with beets, ham, kubasa, cottage cheese, butter, and of course, eggs. And the tradition is to take this basket to the church on Holy Saturday to be blessed, and the blessed food is eaten on Easter Sunday after church. It’s a beautiful tradition, and I always associate Easter dinner with those foods.

On Maundy Thursday we remembered an important meal that Jesus had with his disciples: the Last Supper. Of course, we remember how at that meal, Jesus took bread, and broke it, and wine and blessed it, and gave them to his disciples with the words, “Take and eat, this is my body and my blood, given and shed for you.” And this meal becomes the central element of worship for the early Christians, and becomes known as the Lord’s Supper.

But I want to ask you a question: who do you think baked the bread for Jesus’ last meal with his disciples?

Do you think it was James? How about John? What about Peter, or Thomas, or Matthew? Who do you think baked the bread?

Well the Bible doesn’t say for sure, but I’ve got a pretty good idea. And you know what? I don’t think it was Peter, or James, or John, or any of the other male disciples. Do you know who I think it was? That’s right, the women. I’m pretty sure it was the women who baked the bread.

Half of you are surprised. Half of you aren’t.

I’ll tell you why I think this.

You see the women who followed Jesus - the female disciples - are never mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew until the crucifixion. We hear about the male disciples, right? Peter, James, Simon, Matthew, Andrew, Judas, and the rest. They get parts in the story. But by the time Good Friday comes, they all scatter. They’re all afraid - they’re all in hiding. But the women are still there. And it’s the women - the female disciples - that witness Jesus’ death on the cross.

We know for sure that Mary Magdalene was among them. She is named in all four Gospels. Mary the mother of James is also there. There are a few other names we can find if we read all of the Gospels: Joanna, Salome, Susanna. Certainly there were others. And it’s only in this final chapter, at the crucifixion, that we find out that it wasn’t just the men that followed Jesus - that these women had also been following Jesus, all the way from Galilee. And they were the ones that had provided for him along the way. And they were the ones, watching from a distance as Jesus took his last breath.

This is the first time that we notice them. But they’ve been there, with Jesus the whole time. Caring for him. Providing for him.

They were there when he fed the five thousand, and when he healed the sick. They were there when he taught the crowds with parables, and when he argued with the Pharisees. They were there when he rode up to the gates of Jerusalem on a donkey, and when he stormed into the Temple and drove out the moneychangers.

And while James and John were arguing about who would get to sit on Jesus right hand and on his left, and while Peter was busy sticking his foot in his mouth, and while Judas was busy making deals with the chief priests, it was the women who remained quietly faithful: buying the groceries, cooking the meals, washing the dishes. While Jesus was busy caring for others, it was these women who were caring for Jesus.

And they are the ones who stay to witness all that happens, when all the others have fled.

They are there at Golgotha, watching from a distance as Jesus takes his last breath.

They are there at the tomb when Jesus’ body is buried.

And now, they come back to his tomb, early in the morning, on the first day of the week.

They come to grieve.

And because they come, they are there to witness the amazing thing that’s about to happen.

Because they come, they witness the earth shake, and they witness the angel, shining with all the glory of heaven, descend from the sky and roll away the stone, and then sit on it, in holy triumph. They witness the soldiers who were posted at the tomb fall down like dead men, paralyzed by fear. And they hear the angel say:

Do not be afraid. You have come looking for Jesus, the crucified one. He is not here. He has risen.

It’s these women, who have never been mentioned before, but who were with Jesus the whole time, who are the first to witness the resurrection.

The first to see the empty tomb.

The first to hear the voice of the angel.

The first to meet the risen Christ himself, and to fall at his feet and worship.

And the first to be sent to tell the good news, that Christ the crucified one is risen from the dead.

So these brave, faithful women - Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna, Salome, Susanna, and the others - they leave the tomb with fear, and great joy.

They are still shaking in their sandals from what they have experienced.

And at the same time, their hearts are bursting with joy. Joy, because their friend, their teacher, their Lord who was crucified is risen from the dead, and they saw him with their own eyes.

And joy, because what they witnessed was not simply the resurrection of one man, but the utter defeat of death itself. For by dying and rising from the dead, Christ has destroyed the power of death and has opened the gate to eternal life for all in his name.

So just like the women, we too are now sent, to share this good news - this amazing news - this best news ever - that Christ has died, and is raised, so that we might be raised to new life in him.

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Christ is risen, indeed! Alleluia!


18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Sermon – Thank you.

Sept 10, 2023 Grace to you and peace in God our Creator, Christ, and Spirit of Life, amen. I’d like to start by saying thank you, from the bottom of my heart. When I was a teenager, Pastor Bruce Gelho


bottom of page