“Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying.“Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.” – John 20:11-13.
This passage of scripture from the book of John sets the stage for the scene just moments before Mary Magdalene became the first witness to the greatest miracle to ever take place – the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. But prior to that moment, Mary was having a bad day. In fact, her bad day just got a lot worse as Mary looked inside the tomb that held her now dead Lord. I’m sure she felt hopeless, defeated, and uncertain of what would be next.
Mary was there at the foot of the cross while they crucified Jesus. She was there when they placed Jesus in the tomb. So she stands in place trying to figure out what happened to the body. Who would steal it? Why did they leave his grave clothes neatly folded on the slab? Maybe she is at the wrong tomb? She sees a gardener and wonders if he knows what happened. The gardener calls her by her name. That’s strange; how does he know my name? That voice sounds familiar, it sounds like Jesus’ voice, but He died and that’s why I’m here. But then it all changed. It all changed when she saw Jesus.
And that is what Easter is all about. It’s about a tomb that was supposed to be full, but was empty. Nobody expected it to be empty, but it was. Defeat was turned into victory. Sadness was turned into joy. Uncertainty turned to hope. The blind spots disappeared. That was a turning point for Mary, and really it was a turning point in human history. And it all took place in an empty tomb. The story of Mary serves as a special reminder that Jesus is alive and He is among us.
Because of Jesus, we have an authenticated faith. We have a God who honors promises. We celebrate a Savior who overcame our worst and most final fear. Above all, through the resurrection, we have the ultimate victory in life and in death. In rising again, God enables everyone who believes to share in the victory of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Because of the resurrection, there is the assurance that our mistakes and sins can be forgiven. There is hope that we can see our blind spots. There is hope that we can have joy, peace, and security in the midst of the despair of this age. There is hope that there will come someday a new heaven and a new earth and that the Kingdom of God will reign and triumph. Our hope is not in our own ability, or in our goodness, or in our physical strength. Our hope is in the resurrection of Christ.
- Jesus had predicted His own resurrection many times. His followers knew these predictions well. (Matthew 16:21; Matthew 27:62-64) Yet Mary Magdalene was still approaching the tomb as though Jesus would be in it. Are there any promises God has made to you in which you lack confidence or faith? Are there any areas of your life that reflect unbelief in what God has said He will do?