New Covenant Testaments from Faithful Women
Someday, I’m certain, we’ll see the countless testimonies recorded on scroll, tablet, or plate by the women of the early Christian church. Perhaps some will be unearthed and verified before the Second Coming of the Savior, but whether before or after, all things will be restored, even those destroyed by accident or the evil designs of greedy, foolish people. All of it has been recorded in heaven, and can therefore be reproduced when the time comes. We think having smartphones with video recording capability has opened our eyes to what is happening in the world, but eventually everything will be available. Hard to fathom, but the Lord was serious in Luke 8:17:
For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.
Mary the Mother of Jesus
God left no doubt that Mary was an incredible woman. Gabriel, the angel who first visited her, testified of that fact, calling her “highly favored” and “blessed” among women, noting that she had “found favor” with God. (see Luke 1:28, 30)
Mary had clearly lived her life worthily enough to merit the calling she received to bear the Savior of the world—and not just to bear him, but to nurture him in mortality, to teach him and to suffer with him. To be his mother.
The fact that Mary accepted the call immediately is further witness of her faith, devotion, and character. Her response was, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38)
Mary could trace her lineage back to King David, as could her husband Joseph. She was, therefore, a descendant of David’s royal line, making Christ so as well, as prophesied. Many scholars believe Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy, influential member of the Sanhedrin, was her uncle and significantly influenced her family, including Jesus. We know he provided the tomb for Jesus’s short-lived burial.
Mary almost certainly had received a good education, though that was less common at the time for girls than for boys. She would have been able to write down her thoughts; how poignant and spiritually insightful many of those must have been! Did some or all of what Luke recorded of Gabriel’s visit come from Mary’s own written account? What did she record of Jesus’s birth, his early life, his teenage years, his rabbinical studies and apprenticeship, his ministry, the completion of his glorious mission, and the days, weeks, months, and years that followed? What a delight it will be when those records are revealed!
Mary Magdalene, First Witness of the Resurrection
One of the most mysterious and fascinating women in the New Testament is Mary of Magdala, she from whom Jesus cast seven devils, and who became one of his most devoted followers.
Both Mark and John clearly record that Mary Magdalene was the first to see the risen Lord. We don’t know exactly why she was accorded that prime privilege, but she certainly showed great faith and loyalty to her Savior.
A few apocryphal records of or about Mary Magdalene are purported to exist, but surely there is more. Much more. A heart so full of the refining fires of Truth delivered from the Master’s own lips couldn’t have kept the words inside.
Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod Antipus’s Steward
Joanna was a woman of worldly means, married to the steward of the tetrarch of Galilee, and one of Christ’s early disciples. She had been healed by Jesus of some malady (see Luke 8:2-3). Her connection to Herod’s household may have provided some tactical and logistical advantages for Christ’s ministry, but the scriptures record that she and other women, like Susanna, also provided funds to support the Lord’s ministry.
Her insights into the ugly perversions and political scheming of Herod Antipus, who had killed John the Baptist to fulfill a foolish oath, would provide interesting and educational reading. Perhaps Paul, knowing much of political schemes himself, was also influenced by Joanna’s experiences, for he wrote:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
Priscilla, wife of Aquila, from Rome
We read in Acts that Priscilla and Aquila had left Rome when Emperor Claudius expelled all the Jews from the city. Paul met them in Corinth, and they were both tentmakers, like Paul. He stayed at their home while he preached there, then took them with him to Ephesus, and later to Syria. In Ephesus, they met the eloquent, well-studied preacher Apollos, who they helped to become a powerful testator of the risen, triumphant Lord.
Priscilla and Aquila likely returned to Rome, as Paul makes mention of them in his epistle to the Romans, probably written in about 57 AD (see Romans 16:3). Having spent so much time with the apostle Paul and many other influential member of the church, their records will provide a treasure trove of wisdom and purpose in understanding the incredible progress of the early saints, who collectively, with the Lord’s help, gobsmacked the world.