My Lord lies in a borrowed tomb. The earth mourns with me as we watch the sun creep slowly toward its hiding place. The Sabbath imprisons me, stubbornly lingering on its deathbed. I long to be with Him – to honor Him with my humble offering. The sweet aroma of burial spices, prepared the day before, waft through my windows. Their delicate fragrance vainly attempts to erase from my memory the scent of His own offering – freshly hewn cedar covered with blood.
Finally, the Sabbath bids farewell and I begin my pilgrimage to the burial place. Dawn spreads its wings over the hilltop. Suddenly, birds scatter into the heavens as the earth trembles beneath my feet. My heart races with fear.
I run to His grave. The great stone covering the mouth of the tomb is rolled aside. The light of the eastern sky streams through His sepulcher, glistening off His grave clothes. Then I see…terror grips me. Jesus, my Lord, is gone.
I muffle my scream. The anointing oil I carry slips through my fingers and shatters on the stones beneath me.
Falling to my knees, I weep bitterly, fingering the broken fragments of the bottle as if they are the fragments of my heart.
I gasp, startled by what seems to be a flash of lightning within the tomb. I stoop down hoping to see my Savior. Instead, two men in brilliant apparel sit amidst His linens. Disappointment surges through me. “Where is my Lord?” I cry.
The gardener approaches me, commanding my attention. “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”
Maybe he knows where Jesus is. I stumble toward him, oblivious to the dirt that has mixed with my tears and streaked down my face. “Sir,” I plead, “If you have taken my Lord, please show me where he is.”
With one word, my sorrow is washed away.
“Master!” I fall to the earth before Him to worship, embracing His nail-pierced feet and anointing them with my tears. How could I not know You?
“Stop clinging to Me,” he admonishes gently, “I must return to My Father.”
I want to hold Him forever, but I must obey. I force my hands to loose their grip and lift my eyes to my Beloved. The love in His eyes makes my spirit soar.
“Mary, go tell my disciples that I am risen from the dead.”
I spring to my feet like an obedient child and run, joy without measure coursing through my veins. He is alive!
The sound of weeping greets me as I approach the house of lamentation. I increase my pace, anxious to replace the disciples’ mourning with dancing. All eyes turn toward me as I burst through the door, “He is alive! I have seen Jesus! He is risen!”
I expect an outburst of rejoicing but it does not come. Their faces reflect their hardened hearts. I see doubt, pity, and disdain in their eyes. They do not believe me.
The vehement flame inside me is not quenched. As I open my mouth to convince them, Jesus appears. He admonishes their unbelief, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!”*
Forty days later, all creation holds its breath as He speaks His parting instructions to those of us who love Him.
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”**
As I watch my King of glory ascend into the cloud, His eyes embrace mine. I suddenly realize that I was first. He chose me; a woman acquainted with the depths of darkness to be the first to share the glorious news of His resurrection power – the power over death and sin that set us both free.
Overjoyed, I sing, “Yes, Lord Jesus. I will tell the world!”
* Luke 24:25 (NASB)
**Mark 16:15 (NASB)
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