WHAT MARY DID: Our last look at John 19 revealed two courageous men. Chapter 20 opens with a glimpse of a courageous woman. Her name was ”Mary of Magdala” (1), and it must have taken considerable courage to be out in Jerusalem that early morning, ”while it was still dark”. But those forgiven much, love much, and that was Mary Magdalene. Bob Goff wrote a book entitled, ”Love does”. Love cannot stand idly by when there are duties to be performed; good deeds to be done. What will your love drive you to do this day? It may take courage. (Incidentally, many Christians through the centuries have reported the wonderful spiritual revelations they have had in the early part of the day.)
WHAT MARY SAW: She ”saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance” (1). The tomb was a cave cut out of the rock. I have read that the stone placed in front of this tomb would have been heavy. It fitted into a groove that went slightly downhill, and probably took several men to roll it into place. This was a security measure to prevent grave-robbers from successfully pursuing their disgraceful aims. But Mary saw that the huge, heavy stone placed in front of Jesus’ grave had been rolled away. All four gospels report this to be the case, and the fact that the grave was empty. Someone observed, ”The stone was rolled away, not to let Jesus out, but the church in.”
WHAT MARY SAID: She hurried off and reported her staggering discovery ”to Simon Peter” and the beloved disciple (2a). She does not specify in her breathless outpouring who ”They” are, or who ”we” are (2b). We know from elsewhere that others were with Mary that morning (Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:1 and Luke 24:1). And we also know that no-one took Jesus out of the tomb except the Father and the Holy Spirit. Mary appears in John as the first apostle; an apostle to the apostles – a messenger, a ‘sent one’. It’s fascinating that the first witnesses to the resurrection were women, and a woman’s testimony was not accepted in a Jewish law court. You surely would not invent a story like this? Would you not try to edit out the unacceptable bits?
This I can say for sure: it’s good to make haste to spread the good news of the empty tomb. When we hear it we should ‘run’ to check it out; to examine the evidence. This matters so much. It’s been pointed out that there is more running in John 20:1-10 than in the rest of the gospels put together.
Professor Joad was a philosopher at London University, and a broadcaster. He was once asked, ”Which figure of history would you most like to meet, and what question would you put to him or her?” He replied, ”Jesus of Nazareth. And I would ask Him, ‘Did you or did you not rise from the dead?’ ”
RUN to see for yourself!