Now on the first day of the week – this would be Sunday morning, very early, while it was still dark. Mary Magdalene came to the tomb. The other Gospels tell there are actually 3 women who have come bringing spices to anoint the body. John focuses on this Mary. She has been waiting – from 6 pm Friday night until now – waiting for a very long and sad Sabbath to be over.
She “saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb”. It was going to be a troubling stone to get moved – the women had talked about this on the way. And now she finds it moved – expecting that no good has come from this. (Sometimes God opens a door but I don’t recognize it is Him. Instead I fear the worse – like something has created havoc while God was looking somewhere else! If my heart is about following Him, why don’t I expect He will always be ahead of me? I think it is not about trusting His provision or goodness. My uncertainty is to how well I am following. Jesus addressed my insecurity: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and no one will snatch them out of my hand John 10: 27-28.” It strikes me that to be concerned of the quality of my following is, in and of itself, evidence of my desire to follow. He is certain I will hear His voice.)
So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Still intent on her mission to anoint the body of Jesus, Mary runs for help. She has no expectation that Jesus is any more than a dead body and dead bodies don’t just walk away – (she’s right – dead bodies don’t.)
John “outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.” Was it reverence or terror? I don’t know- but he was frozen at the doorway.
Peter, of course, does not stop at the door – he’s inside looking at everything. Surely the neatly folded head cloth is a curiosity – no rushed body thief at play…Then John comes in and he saw and believed.
What did he believe? Hearing Jesus’ words and knowing the scripture had not prepared him for this outcome. These things had not combined in his thinking. But now, in this startling moment John believes in the resurrection.
Jesus has laid down His life for the sheep. He will not lose even one.
When in doubt, stop and listen for the Shepherd’s voice.
About the World?
To the one who enters the empty tomb – look and believe.