The stone is rolled away from the entrance. The tomb is empty. The strips of linen used to wrap the dead body of Lord Jesus are lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around His head. Three people witnessed this scene.
Mary Magdalene sees the stone being rolled away and runs back to share her fear and doubt with the others; to exclaim that her Master’s dead body has been stolen.
The leaders of the group run to the scene as expected. The beloved disciple who enjoyed a special place in The Lord’s Heart knows something had happened but is too hesitant to go in and check things out. Simon Peter, the daring leader of the pack marches right into the empty tomb and inspects everything. It was true indeed! Jesus was not in the tomb! First, they lose the Master for whom they had left everything, and now they've lost even His lifeless body!
Peter and John's nature in this instances feels familiar- it reminds me of my own deafitist sighs as I think, "Oh well, what can be done now anyway? They have won!” I can relate to the disappointment the disciples would have felt as they “went back to where they were staying”. ( cf. John 20:10)
Mary of Magdala doesn't go inside the tomb, for she is a woman and so far down the ladder of social hierarchy. Yet she is the only one desperate enough to need to find the body of Jesus to pour out her love and praise to Him. She is not ready to go back. Broken-hearted, she waits outside the tomb weeping, and peers into the empty tomb to make sure that the One she was looking for is really dead. Then, from the entrance of the tomb, she sees something that those who dared to go in did not see. Two angels keeping guard of the burial place. They speak to her! And she replies, expressing her troubled heart. We all know what happened next, Mary looks back and meets The Risen Christ for the first time, recognising Him as He calls her name, “ Mary”!
This is a good season to reflect on our own relationship with Our Lord and Master.
Am I like Peter and John who went right in, keen to gain information and find facts? Am I more interested in studying about The Lord and His teaching rather than having a deep desire to know Him and building an intimate relationship with The Lord? Do I miss the supernatural just because I am so focused on the natural and rational?
Let’s try to recall the encounters we have had with The Lord in the past. I’m sure almost everyone would have had some experience when they felt The Lord been very close to them, spoken to their hearts and ministered to them. Where did those encounters lead us to? Have we chosen to remain in His company, or have we gone back to “ where we were” before?
What should we do to be like Mary? She challenges us to search for the Lord with all our heart, to be in His company even if The Lord doesn't seem to be doing any miracles in our lives right now.
Let’s choose to place our hearts in the right posture, united to The Lord in good times and bad, trusting in His absolute Goodness and Faithfulness. The Risen Lord will surprise us too, just like He did Mary!
Wishes and prayers for a glorious Easter!