|Introduction: This story is a fictional account of Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-11 and John 20:1-18. It is told through the eyes of Mary Magdalene, who along with three other women go to anoint the body of Jesus. For these women, this was an act of devotion and love. As a Christian, I realize that while Palm Sunday leads me to Calvary and the suffering, crucifixion and death of Jesus, Easter is the revelation of His glorious resurrection and the reality that He Lives! This story now concludes with Part 2.|
Slowly, Joanna and Mary awoke and dressed. Usually, they were quite talkative but this morning, none of us said anything worthy of discussion. Joanna always had something to say about Chusa and his work for Herod. Mary is a proud mother of both James and Mark, as is Salome, mother of two disciples of Jesus. Sometimes, we would laugh and joke as most women did, other times we would talk about family, but more often we would discuss what Jesus said and meant to each of us. This morning, we are all silent. We watched Jesus hanging for hours on that cross; finally, he uttered words I shall never forget:
“It is finished.”
The words haunt me, echoing in my mind, again and again. Why did he have to die? Perhaps, I didn’t understand His purpose. I remember him saying on the way to Jerusalem,
“We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
Salome interrupted my thoughts with a question:
“Do we have enough sweet spices?”
“I think so,” answered Joanna.
Having gathered all the spice we could carry, we left the house and silently walked toward the tomb.
As we walked, Salome asked a question none of us previously considered,
“What about the stone in front of the tomb? How will we move it?”
“Perhaps we can ask the soldiers or some of the disciples if they are there.”
“Why would any of the disciples be there Joanna when they all fled once they arrested Jesus?”
I didn’t want to think about obstacles, moving stones, fearful disciples, acts of cowardice or anything else, I just wanted to anoint his body this one last time.
“We will find someone to help,” I said.
Finally, we arrived, but to my surprise, the stone was rolled away from the tomb. I stood outside as Salome, Joanna and the other Mary walked inside the tomb.
Mary spoke first, “His body isn’t here!”
I could hear Salome scream, “They’ve taken his body!”
I ran from the tomb to tell the disciples.
Inside the tomb, the others saw two men, whose appearance illuminated with a brilliant light. The three of them bowed low to the ground as the two men spoke,
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”
Salome wondered how it is possible to rise from the dead.
The three of them became so frightened that they fled to their homes.
I arrived to find Peter and John.
“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
Immediately, Peter and John ran to the tomb; John arrived first to see the body was gone just as I said. John looked inside but would not go in. When Peter arrived, he walked inside the tomb, examining the strips of linen and the burial cloth which was used to cover the head of Jesus. John then entered the tomb but both he and Peter had a perplexed expression on their faces. Neither they nor I fully understood what took place. The two of them decided to go back home and left me at the entrance of the tomb crying.
I heard something inside the tomb and decided to take a look. There were two men sitting where I last saw the body of Jesus.
One of the men asked me, “Why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away, and I don’t know where they have put him.”
Suddenly, I could feel the presence of someone behind me and as I turned, there was Jesus standing; but for some reason, I did not recognize him. He seemed familiar in a way that I cannot explain; hearing his voice brought comfort to me.
“Why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
For some reason, it occurred to me that perhaps he was the gardener; if he was, I thought he would surely know.
“Sir, if you have carried away the body of Jesus, please tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
It occurred to me that I could not possibly retrieve the body of Jesus by myself. Who would I ask to help me return him to the tomb? As questions poured over my mind, the man spoke one simple word to me,
Immediately, I knew whose voice it was that spoke. I turned and cried out,
I wanted to hold him and never let go. In that moment, I realized Jesus is alive, he is standing in front of me! As I extended my arms toward him, he spoke.
“Do not hold on to me, I have not yet returned to my Father. Go to my brothers, tell them, I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
The emotions I felt were overwhelming. Earlier, I felt great sadness and now, I experienced such tremendous joy. I ran with purpose to tell each of the disciples the good news; that I have seen the Lord, He’s Alive!
A Note of Thanks: I would just like to say that I appreciate each of you who visit My Thought-filled Journey. Taking time out of your schedule to read a post on this blog is encouraging to me. Many of those who visit, will from time to time leave a comment. Whether a comment is left is not important. What is important, is that you came. I do hope you find encouragement and inspiration in these words. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Chist in your life which illuminates the way for us all.
|Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).|