It was early. They walked quickly, in hushed tones. It was cool, having rained overnight. Everything was so rushed on the Preparation day, there wasn’t time to properly anoint the body. The women all agreed to meet early the morning after the Sabbath, in order to anoint His body; as was fitting. They wondered aloud if the soldiers would help them with the heavy stone.
Passover was usually a time of rememberance but also of celebration. This time, however, there was no celebration. FOr the first time in their lives, all ritual seemed hollow. Afterall, their Deliverer was dead. For three years, they’d followed this man – the One. All they’d hoped for – gone – in one horrible afternoon. Why, Lord, why?
Mary Magdalene worried a little about how quiet it seemed – her experience with Romans was that they were loud – all the time. And yet, as they approached the tomb she did not hear anything – no voices, no heavy steps – just the quiet of the garden.
Then they saw it. The tomb was open. The guards were gone. What had happened? Surely no-one would have taken the Lord’s body. Why, then was the stone rolled away? Why would the Roman soldiers have unsealed the tomb? Why?
Frightened, they ran to the tomb, but found nothing. Bewildered, they ran outside and were met by two men. How brightly their robes shined! And their voices rang – it was terrible and beautiful, at the same time.
“Why do you seek the living among the dead,” one of the men said, “He is risen! Go and tell the others.”
They immediately rushed to tell Peter. “Why don’t you believe us? We’ve seen it for ourselves!” Mary’s heart was heavy – she told herself she believed these men – surely they were messengers, sent to give them the good news. Why, then, couldn’t she rejoice with the others? Why wouldn’t they believe her?
Peter immediately ran for the tomb – going to inspect the now shed graveclothes with bewilderment.
Mary knelt in the cool grass a long time, eyes closed, just listening and praying. When she looked up, she saw a man standing near her. Grief-stricken, she cried, “They’ve taken the Lord away and I don’t know where.”
“Mary,” said the man. It was only then she realized the man standing before her was Jesus. Alive!
Jesus had to die. God’s perfection demands a sacrifice for sin. It is a death sentence. From the very first rebellion in the garden, God knew we could never be redeemed unless He intervened. From the beginning, to the very last pages of Scripture, we read of God’s plan to redeem us through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son. Jesus had to die; or we would never truly live.