Last week my five-year-old daughter announced that one day she’d sit the bench as a judge, gavel and all. But she boasted only four years of life last week, and this week she acquired a fifth. “Now that you are five, do you still want to be a judge when you grow up?” I asked my beaming five-year-old—the one I praised without end for her ambitious choice to enter the world of law once her age increases six-fold. What might five bring, I wondered? Did she have her sights set firmly on the supreme court? International justice for the unseen and under-served? The presidency?
“I want to be super flex,” she exclaimed, demonstrating that the elasticity of youth has yet to leave her limbs. Her knee touched her nose, but the leg obscuring her face didn’t block her words, “I want to spend my life on this.”
I laughed the guffaw of every mother smitten with her tiny people. I don’t care if my daughter is a lawyer or the best darn yoga instructor her limberness will make her.
But I can’t shake her answer. I think it has changed the way I’ll ask that question from here on out.
“How do you want to spend your life?”
Jesus gives us direction on this. And not just the boundaries of morality. He gave us a command, a commission even:
“Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mt 28:18-20 ESV)
Whatever you do, however you spend your life, the goal of every Christian’s days slipped from the mouth of Jesus a couple thousand years ago. Replicate yourself. Go out with the purpose of filling the world with more people who will reflect the glory of God.
I have known so many women, read things written by so many women, and listened to the stories of so many women, who truly believe that Jesus didn’t have them in view here, or that they get a pass, or that this message focuses the mission of male disciples not female ones. Women who believe their place is to watch as the kingdom of God expands and cheer on the other people given the call to “make disciples of the whole world”.
But that isn’t true.
I doubt that Matthew would label it a coincidence that in his gospel the Great Commission butts right up against the story of the resurrection. A story where two women receive the first revelation of the Godhead’s greatest triumph.
Jesus story takes place in a time ruled by patriarchal religious assumptions where men were believed to have priority over women when it came to God’s dealing with the world. His resurrection happens among a society where women were not considered credible witnesses. But to whom does Jesus choose to reveal the very evidence of his victory over sin, death, and Satan? Women.
Jesus could have showed up anywhere after his resurrection. The tomb lay empty when the angel removed the stone from its entrance. Jesus’ exodus didn’t require the stone’s removal. In other gospels we find him walking through walls and literally disappearing into thin air. The choice to walk up to women in the garden outside the tomb was intentional.
Not only do women receive the first revelation of the resurrected Christ, but Matthew records the commission from Jesus to the women to bring the good news of his resurrection to the twelve disciples: “Then Jesus told them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.’” (Mt 20:10 CSB)
The first mediators of the gospel story are women.
Matthew’s story of Jesus resurrection testifies to the fact that God intends for women to join in the work of spreading the gospel to the ends of the earth until the end of the age.
Ladies, how do you want to spend your life? If it requires an advanced law degree or an advanced flexibility, Jesus has you in view when he says, “make disciples.”
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Kelsey Hency is editor in chief of Fathom Magazine. She received a MA(CE) from Dallas Theological Seminary and resides with her two little girls and husband in Dallas. You can find more from Kelsey on twitter @KelseyHency and Instagram @kelseyhency.