Read Mark 16:1-8
When the disciples abandoned Jesus, three women remained. When Jesus died on the cross Mark 15:40 tells us three women stood witness. These same three are again mentioned in Mark 15:47 as Jesus was laid to rest by Joseph of Arimathea. And now three days later these three women gather to do something they have wanted to do for three days. Early on this Sunday morning these three set off to anoint Jesus’ body with spices.
What do you talk about as you go to anoint the body of one who had promised so much? They had followed him, they had seen him cure people of illness, they had heard stories of the time he had stopped a storm with just his voice, he had brought people back to life. But who was going to bring him back to life? The messiah was dead, the oppression was still real, the pain just greater because they had been offered so much hope. So what do you say? You say the mundane. You question things like – who will roll the stone away from the tomb for us? Give them credit – this is a genuine concern – this massive stone has been rolled into place and it isn’t designed to be moved!
In sorrow, in desperation, in anger and hurt the ladies walk to the tomb, questioning the mundane and then they see the extraordinary – the stone had been rolled away.
Who had done such a thing? The disciples? No, they were still hiding. Joseph of Arimathea? But why? And so they enter the tomb but instead of Jesus they see a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side of the tomb.
And they were alarmed! Alarmed, panicked, confused, angry? All of the above? Pretty likely – what’s going on? – do people have no respect? – surely Jesus has been humiliated enough, where has his body gone? There’s a reason why they placed huge stones to block the tombs, they weren’t designed to be moved, they were designed to stop grave robbers or grave recycling – three days after his death and his body has already been tampered with. But the man in white speaks up – ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’
In that one statement – the event that has forever changed the world was described – this changes everything! To be honest I don’t think in that moment those three women got it. The book of Mark tells us in terror and amazement they bolted, and initially they said nothing to anyone.
These three women who came to anoint the body of their leader have just been told that the one they were seeking was not dead but alive. What does this mean? I don’t think in that instance they knew. I think in that moment as they stared at an empty tomb and young man dressed in white they didn’t have words for the feelings they felt or the confusion in their minds – so they panicked and fled.
To Be Continued…
- What stood out for you in today’s story? Do you have any questions?
- What do you think we mean when we say ‘this moment changed everything?’
- How can you share this ‘this changes everything moment’ with others?
- How have you stopped this week to recover physically, emotionally and spiritually?