When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, â€œWho will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?â€
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
â€œDon’t be alarmed,â€ he said. â€œYou are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.â€
Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. Mark 16:1-8 (NIV)
Today is known by some as Easter Monday. Many of us went to church yesterday and celebrated THE most wonderful event of the Church year: our Savior’s triumph over sin and death. Many of us also celebrated the day with a feast of good food and time with family. It is good. Now what?
The women in this Scripture had a â€œmissionâ€, a â€œjobâ€ to do. They were going to anoint the body of a man who had been Teacher, friend, Life-Changer. They were grief-stricken but they were going to do the job. They got up early â€“ maybe they slept fitfully and decided to go and â€œget it doneâ€. Maybe they went early to avoid being seen; frightened that known associates might be crucified next! They were women on a mission but they were also consumed with the identifiable obstacle that might keep them from accomplishing the mission â€“ a large boulder. The Scripture seems to imply that they got to the tomb before they realized the stone was not in their way. They did not look up from a distance and see that there was no obstacle; they just kept going on and worrying. Hmmm.
Now these women see that the tomb is open and yet they still go in. Nothing to harm them as there is only a dead body in there, right? The presence of a young man in a white robe creates their first â€œalarmâ€. They did not expect to find anyone in a tomb with whom to have a conversation!
The angel (because that is what he is) tells them not to â€œbe alarmedâ€ (yeah, right!) and quickly identifies that he knows who they were there to see…and it wasn’t him! He is clear that he knows they are there to find Jesus and it was the Jesus who was horrifically and definitely killed. The angel is clear the he did not move the body and it is not hidden in some other place. Jesus is not just gone â€“ He is ALIVE!
The women do not just leave …they flee. They run. They are scared. My pastor said, â€œHe scared the hell out of them!â€ And they said nothing! Why? Because they were afraid.
Before I met Jesus, I wanted to meet Him. I wanted to know He was real. Jesus already knew what I wanted and He went before me â€“ to meet me. And once I met Jesus â€“ He did scare the hell out of me! I no longer had that darkness inside of me. I was no longer shut up in a tomb. He rolled the stone away and showed me how to walk in freedom. The Good News of Jesus was for Peter (the deny-er) and all the disciples (those sinners) and me (the sinner).
The question on this Easter Monday is: will I be like those women and tell no one? Will I worry about ‘boulders and obstacles’? Or will I complete the mission that I have been given to â€œGOâ€ and tell others that JESUS IS ALIVE??!!