Book Review — The Women of Easter: Encounter the Savior with Mary of Bethany, Mary of Nazareth, and Mary Magdalene

Liz Curtis Higgs brings readers into the story of Easter, so we experience it along with the three Marys. Together with the three Marys we encounter Jesus’ love, grace, and compassion in a new way as He invites them (and us) into deeper relationship with Him. We feel the anguishing sorrow of His crucifixion. We wait with them through the pain of Saturday, and are shocked and confused when the tomb is empty. We fall on our faces in front of the angel, and race back to tell the others “He is risen.” We meet our risen Savior, and we are never the same.

Through Liz’s powerful storytelling, I met Jesus in a new way. His love, mercy, and compassion poured off the pages straight into my heart. Liz digs deep to show the significance of Jesus’ words and actions that may be lost on the modern Bible reader. In response to Jesus’ mother Mary telling Him about the wedding running out of wine:

‘Woman, why do you involve me?’ Jesus replied. John 2:4

His response may sound critical to our ears, but the word woman was ‘a respectful form of address in that culture.’
— Pages 120-121

Liz beautifully and powerfully invites us to see how Jesus elevated the status of women and how vitally important they were to Him during His life, death, and resurrection. She brings to life the women’s loyalty, bravery, and love for the One who saw them for who they are, not who society says they should be. 

When Mary of Bethany sits at Jesus’ feet while her sister Martha is making preparations for the meal, Martha asks Jesus to make Mary help her.

In the first century, sitting at a teacher’s feet was the mark of a disciple, a follower, a faithful student. The apostle Paul explained, ‘At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated.’ It was a physical position meant to show humility, respect, and a willingness to listen. Jesus, who invited His followers to ‘learn from me,’ welcomed Mary of Bethany in His traveling classroom in an era when Jewish females were relegated to the women’s section in the back of a synagogue, hidden behind a screen …

Jesus did not rebuke Mary or remind her of her place. He made room for her. He invited her to stay. Gently but firmly Jesus defied the culture and set people free, finding ‘no need to enforce the strictest gender-role customs of his time.’ If Mary wanted to sit at His feet, she was most welcome.
— Pages 10-11

Women were with Jesus from birth through His life, through His death, through His resurrection, and then they were the first to tell the good news of the Gospel. Liz does a fantastic job of showing us just how much we matter to Jesus, and who we really are to Him. 

I highly recommend The Women of Easter: Encounter the Savior with Mary of Bethany, Mary of Nazareth, and Mary Magdalene to anyone who wants to draw closer to Jesus and/or get a deeper view of how Jesus treats women.

 

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. My opinions are my own.