Reliving the Easter Story ~ blog
It was the third day…before dawn. Mary Magdalene could not stay away and so she headed to the tomb where His body was laid, and the great stone rolled against the entrance and the Roman soldiers had sealed it shut.
It was dark and Mary was filled with grief. She just could not stay away and feeling the need to just be close even to His dead body felt like what she needed to do. However, as she drew near enough to see the tomb in the dark, she saw that the stone had been rolled away. Not just moved a little like someone wanting to squeeze through a small opening…but completely taken away and laying to the side with the whole entrance agape.
She feared the worst. Someone had gone in and stolen His body. So, she immediately ran to Simon Peter and John and said;
“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,
and we do not know where they have laid him.”
So, Peter and John run to the tomb with John being sure to tell us that he won the race and got there first. But he stopped looking at the open entrance and waited for Peter to catch up. While waiting he stooped down and looked into the dark tomb and saw something that shocked him. The linen cloths that His body had been wrapped in were lying there in the tomb…but no body was there.
When Peter arrived, he went right into the tomb and also saw the linens lying there but noticed that the face cloth used to cover the head of Jesus was folded up and was set aside in a place by itself as if someone took the time to handle that sacred linen in an honorable way.
John saw the same things regarding the linens and facecloth, and he believed that Jesus was not there but neither of them understood the Scriptures that Jesus must rise from the dead. Things were now even more tragic. Not only was their Lord crucified, dead, and buried…but now someone has stolen the body and so they returned to their homes to think about what they just learned.
However, Mary remained outside the tomb weeping and even deeper in grief. And as she stood there weeping, she looked inside again and was astonished to see two angels sitting where Jesus’s body had been laid. One angel sitting where His head was resting and one where His feet had been placed.
The angels asked her why was she weeping? They knew what had happened…that Jesus was alive and were probably trembling with anticipation to see Mary’s deepest sorrows of her life about to become her greatest joy. They then heard her say in her heavy grief…
“They have taken away my Lord,
and I do not know where they have laid him.”
However, the angels vanished and so Mary turned around only to find another man standing behind her. But she did not recognize this man thinking he was the gardener and He said to her…
“Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
To which she replied…
“Sir, if you have carried him away,
tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”
Mary is racked with grief and afraid thieves have stolen His crucified body. The worst weekend of her life is only getting even more horrible, and she cannot imagine anything getting worse, but she was determined to find His broken and dead body.
And then she hears this man say her name. One word…her name…spoken to her a million times throughout her entire life. But no one could ever say her name like this man said it…no one except Jesus. And where she heard this gardener say “Mary” the deep grieving darkness that had so imprisoned her spirit and soul disappeared and she realized that the Lord she so loved and who had so loved her had just said her name.
Her deep grief immediately turned to pure joy and she instantly wraps her arms around His body holding onto Him out of love but also wanting to know that He was really there. She could never have imagined she would ever see Him again…or hug Him again. Her arms feel His solid body. She smells his fragrance, and all of her senses are highly alert confirming what her eyes and ears had been telling her.
Jesus…her Lord and Savior…was alive!!!
Jesus asks her to stop clinging to Him. And tells her to go tell the disciples that…
“I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
So, Mary, not wanting to leave Him but also not wanting to disobey Him leaves Him and goes to where the disciples had gathered to grieve the loss of their Lord and try to figure out what to do next.
Mary knocks on the door and it opens. and she hears these words coming out of her mouth…
“I have seen the Lord!!!”
And she told them the things He had said to her. We are not told what happened that day other than the disciples were joined together and had locked the door afraid that the Jews would come after them as the news of the empty tomb was being whispered around town.
Suddenly Jesus just suddenly appeared in their midst and says…
“Peace be with you.”
As they all stood there utterly amazed and wondering if the shock of the events were causing them to be seeing things that were not real or perhaps this was the ghost of Jesus…Jesus shows them the nail holes in His hands and the wound from the spear in His side.
And when they saw these wounds and heard His voice, they know that their Savior was alive. That Jesus had overcome death and was resurrected just like He told them before He died. What could not even have been imagined had happened. Jesus was alive…He has risen from the dead…He has risen indeed.