When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. Mark 16, verses 1-8.
Put yourself in the shoes (ok, sandals) of those women. In the same way Luke described the shepherds who saw Jesus on the day He was born, “they were sore afraid.” These poor women were grieving, and they had come to the garden tomb after the Passover Sabbath to anoint Jesus’ dead body. It’s true that they had revered Him as their Lord, the promised and hoped-for Messiah, and the one who would make all things new. But He was dead now. The Jewish priests had arranged for His murder. The all-too-willing Romans had carried out the murder. The disciples were hiding, afraid for their lives. And Jesus’ body was buried in a stranger’s fresh tomb. They had contemplated this thing, probably talked about it, all through the long Saturday Sabbath. Very early on a cool Sunday morning, these three followers of the wandering rabbi went to the cemetery to do their duty.
Imagine their surprise. Imagine their shock. Imagine being overwhelmed at what they were witnessing. Imagine that they were probably scared to death. All they had expected to find was the big stone in front of the tomb, maybe a Roman guard there to make sure nothing was out of place. Out of place indeed; it was a whole new level of that.
“Don’t be alarmed,” said the angel. Would you be alarmed if a brilliantly dazzling supernatural man told you not to be? I’d be speechless. And as if that wasn’t alarming enough, the angel gives them the greatest news since God said “let there be.” “He has risen.”
“He has risen.”
Would you be surprised, shocked, overwhelmed and terrified? It would be sensory overload, something racing too fast for your brain to fully absorb, like something you dreamed could happen but didn’t really think ever would. I mean, let’s be real. The Messiah had been talked about for thousands of years; it was almost like a legend, even in a time when legends were still popularly believed.
And yet here it was, happening in front of their eyes. Put yourself in their place. How would you feel?
Lord Jesus, I confess I would be scared and overwhelmed like the women were that Easter morning. Forgive my unbelief and help me to understand more of Your supernatural power.
Read Mark 16.