Mary Magdalene knocked a bottle over on the counter top.
Salome lifted her head off her pillow. “What time is it? I don’t see any daylight. What are you doing?”
Mary kept wrapping the spice bottles in cloth and putting them in her satchel. “I’m going to the tomb. Joseph and Nicodemus couldn’t properly prepare His body for burial. I’m not about to let the ineptitude of the men deny Jesus the best burial available. The sun will be up when I get there.”
The other Mary sat up in bed. “You’re not leaving without me. Just because Jesus cast seven demons out of you doesn’t mean you’re the only woman here who loved Him.”
Salome stood. “We’re all going. Nobody’s going out in the night alone.”
Mary Magdalene lit a lamp. “Then I suggest you change into something warmer. The morning air will be quite chilly.”
Salome started the conversation halfway to the tomb.”I still can’t believe He’s dead. I mean, He healed so many others and brought Lazarus back to life. But, who can bring Jesus back?”
Mary Magdalene kept the pace fast. “He has to be the Messiah. Nobody could do what He did and not be from God. We’ve waited so long. I don’t understand why He didn’t bring about the kingdom promised in the scriptures.”
The other Mary pulled on the back of Mary’s clothes. “Who will roll the stone away from the tomb for us?”
Mary Magdalene stopped for a second, then resumed the trek. “Perhaps the garden caretaker will be there. I don’t know. I just know I have to do this.”
The women stopped after they rounded the last curve before they reach the tomb. Four guards lay on the ground, their spears pointed in different directions. A light drew the women into the tomb.
Mary Magdalene entered first. As they observed the vacant wrappings an angel appeared. “Why do you seek the living among the dead. Jesus isn’t here. He’s risen just like He said He would. Go, tell the disciples–especially Peter–that Jesus will meet them in Galilee.”
The women exited the tomb after the angel departed. Salome and the other Mary went back to their home. Mary Magdalene made a bee-line for the disciple’s hideout.
When she reached them she pounded on the door. “Peter open up. I have news about Jesus!”
As Peter opened the door Mary fell inside breathing heavily. “They’ve taken Him. I don’t know who, or how, but He’s gone.”
Peter helped her to a chair. “What are you saying, Mary? Who are you talking about?”
She looked in his eyes. “Jesus.”
John walked over. “Are you sure you have the right tomb?”
Mary looked at him, then the others. “I saw the tomb they laid Him in. I was just there. I tell you Jesus is not where they put Him three days ago.”
Peter ran out the door. John hesitated, then followed Peter. Mary got up and walked back to the garden.
As she approached the tomb Peter and John were gone. The guards were nowhere to be seen. She cried outside the tomb before she looked in again.
Two angels greeted her. “Why are you so sad?”
Mary caught her breath. “Because they’ve taken away my Lord and I don’t know where He is.”
She backed out of the tomb and saw another man standing nearby.
“Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”
She fell to her knees. “Sir, if you have moved Him then please tell me where so I can attend to Him properly.”
Mary’s heart skipped a beat. She stopped breathing momentarily. She would know that voice anywhere. “Rabboni!”
She looked up, but her tears clouded her vision.
As she wiped her tears on her sleeve Jesus said. “Don’t touch Me. I have yet to ascend to the Father. Go tell the men that I’m going to My Father and your Father, My God and your God.”
As Mary stared at the holes in His feet Jesus vanished. She got up and returned to the disciples.
Denial is such a strong component of the grieving process. The stronger the grief the harder it is to work through this first step. Jesus had told everybody numerous times in various ways that He was going to come back to life. So why did it take them by such a shocking surprise when He actually did?
I can think of a few reasons.
First: this had never happened before. Jesus was so adept at using parables and alliteration to make His points, how could they know for sure when He was speaking directly about something yet to happen. There was no first-hand knowledge of anybody ever coming back to life without the intervention of a prophet.
Second: they were all expecting the long-awaited kingdom to happen when the Messiah came to Earth the first time. They didn’t realize that there was yet to be a second coming to establish the kingdom in the future. Their hopes were so dashed by Jesus death they were possibly second guessing whether Jesus was the Messiah.
Third, and most importantly: the Holy Spirit was not active in their lives at this point. To the extent He was He blinded their eyes to the full realization of the exact historical events that were transpiring right before their eyes. They were so limited by their natural vision that they couldn’t see the Heavenly vision as it unfolded.
Don’t be surprised when you witness to non-believers on a level that you’re sure they should get it, but they don’t. The Holy Spirit needs to be the one to bring them to the place of accepting Jesus’s gift of eternal life (Romans 8:14). Our responsibility is give the Spirit something to work with.
Telling them is only one way to deliver the truth. Living it out is the best way. Give Jesus your best effort.
I’ll see you later. Wade