Their teacher had been crucified. The One to whom they’d looked and followed was unfastened hand by hand off a shameful cross and laid in a tomb; His body, lifeless. The Man who’d understood them unlike anyone they’d ever known was now gone. The Advocate who’d defended Mary of Bethany after she’d broken open her expensive alabaster jar of perfume in worship, the Savior who’d cast the seven demons out of Mary Magdalene, had been arrested, crucified and buried.
“As the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to view the tomb.” Mt 28:1
They and a few other women were stirring, rustling themselves awake from fitful nightmares of their Lord being taken from them, if they’d slept at all. They had work to do. Gathering their spices to anoint His body they set off. They wouldn’t think of letting Him go without paying tribute, without one final touch.
On their way to the tomb “They were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb for us?’” Mk 16:3
A good woman, who loves her Lord, never lets an immovable, impossible obstacle from halting her journey toward Him.Click To TweetA good woman, who loves her Lord, never lets an immovable, impossible obstacle from halting her journey toward Him. The truth is, they had no idea how they’d get a stone like that moved out of the way. But they were women who’d walked with Jesus. And a stone standing in the way wouldn’t keep them from making their way. They’d keep walking toward Him with their spices, with their heartache, with each other, on a mission. That stone would be taken care of one way or another.
“They found the stone rolled away from the tomb. They went in but did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” Lk 24:2-3
That impossibly heavy stone, the one that could have kept them under the covers wrapped in thoughts that they and their spices would never get inside anyhow, had been moved. But there was another very big problem, one they couldn’t have foreseen coming, the biggest heartbreak yet that turned out to be their salvation. Jesus wasn’t there.
“Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” asked the angels. “He is not here but has risen!” Lk 24:5-6
How many times have I looked for life in places where only dead men live? I’ve peered into the tombs of fame and wealth, stepped into caverns where the powerful and popular presided, carried my offerings to the pleasures of this world, looking for life. And then the whisper that cuts with the tip of a sword slices through, why are you looking for life here? Look for Jesus. No life is life except the life He gives.
Of course in the case of these women they were looking for Jesus—they were just in the wrong place. They’d misunderstood. Or maybe they hadn’t heard all the way. Perhaps they’d forgotten. The angel stood to remind them.
“Remember how he spoke to you when he was still in Galilee, saying ‘It is necessary that the Son of Man be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and rise on the third day’?” Lk 24:6-7
“And they remembered his words”. Lk 24:8
What words of the Savior have you forgotten? What of His promises have you not taken Him up on? What commands are you leaving un-obeyed? What truths have you relaxed for a more convenient alternative? In the meantime, missing it. Go back to His Word this Holy Week and remember. Because it’s in the remembering that we know where to find Jesus.
The men finally came to the tomb, as heartbroken over the death of Christ as the women, but they dealt with their grief differently. As men and women so beautifully and uniquely often do. After Peter and John found the tomb empty, they went home.
“But Mary stood outside the tomb, crying.” Jn 20:11
Sometimes I wish I’d just wait a little longer in my grief. Stay in my tears a few more minutes instead of rushing away from a painful sight, or brushing off appropriate mourning for something more pleasant.Mary sat with her tears long enough to peer into the tomb and see something the men hadn’t seen. Angels.Click To TweetMary sat with her tears long enough to peer into the tomb and see something the men hadn’t seen. Angels. They asked her why she was crying. She gave the most telling answer.
“Because they’ve taken away my Lord.” Jn 20:13
Not The Lord, or the disciples’ Lord, or Israel’s Lord, but my Lord. Mary Magdalene was close enough to Jesus to tell an angel that He was hers. And then when another Man, whom she thought was the gardener, asked her the same question, she told him to tell her where he’d taken Jesus because she wanted His body. This is intimacy with the Savior. This is familiarity. This is familial closeness and comfortability and ownership. Mary Magdalene shows us something about how close a woman can and should be to Christ.
That Man whom she thought was the gardener revealed Himself to her as Jesus. He did this by simply calling her name.
“Mary”, Jn 20:16.
Hear her name.
Hear your name.
Then, let us do what she did. Fall at his feet and worship.
After Mary and the women heard the news about Jesus’ resurrection they were entrusted with the good news of the Gospel. Jesus appeared first to a woman. And it was to women that the privilege of being the inaugural carriers of the Gospel was given.
“But go, tell his disciples…” Mt 16:17.
This is what the angels said to the women. Just this morning I prayed that the Lord would help me be a more effective goer and teller. To put my lamp on a stand, to keep my salt salty. Men and women alike have been charged with sharing the Gospel. But see this list of women who first went and told—even to those who didn’t believe them at first. Are you going? Are you telling about the preciousness of not just the Savior, but your Savior?
“Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them were telling the apostles these things. Lk 24:10.
This Holy Week. These days leading up to Easter. I pray over you, dear sister, that as women we would take our unique place with Jesus. That we’d rustle ourselves out of bed a few minutes earlier to meet with Him. I pray we won’t let what are factual, immoveable obstacles keep us from journeying toward Him—trusting that, somehow, He’ll take care of the impossible. I pray we’ll stop looking for life among the dead, rather pursue it in the person of Christ. I hope we’ll remember the Lord’s words when times get hard, that we’ll take Him up on His promises. Do you need to mourn something a little longer, instead of brushing it aside for the easy distraction—long enough to get a Word? To hear your name called? And as an absolutely, one of a kind, uniquely gifted disciple of Jesus, to whom can you go tell the good news of the Gospel?
I love being a follower of Christ with you. I love being a woman with you. Happy Easter.