The bottle of oil slipped from her fingers, shattering on the stone below. Cries from the other women echoed in her head. A sound like the noise of a mighty wind flooded her ears. The others spoke but only four cruel words pierced her frantic mind: ‘He is not here.’
A howl rose up from the depths of her pain and railed against the peaceful morning. Had she not endured enough? For three days he had been dead. For three days she had mourned her loss, unable to imagine any thing able to hurt her even more. She was wrong.
Arms caught her as she fell. She did not even remember running away. “Mary?”
It was Peter. “They have taken Him,” she yelled, her voice hoarse with the ache of loss. “They have taken the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid Him.”
Peter and John ran. Mary followed, hoping by some miracle it would all be a bad dream. Who? Who could have done this? Even in death these mortals could not leave her Savior alone. Dear Father, she silently prayed, do not let Him be harmed.
As she approached the tomb both Peter and John came out, both too excited over the emptiness to see her wretched weeping. She watched as they walked away, leaving her more alone than she had ever felt before. A great weight pressed down on her chest making it terribly hard to breathe. If only someone could tell her where He’d been taken.
Hopelessness engulfed Mary and she sank to her knees. She sat so still if someone were to pass by they might have mistaken her for a remarkable statue but for the tears that seemed to spill relentlessly down her pale cheeks. It was too much. Surely it was too much. How could she live in a world where He did not exist?
A hum of voices penetrated her grief, appearing to come from within the tomb. Neither Peter nor John indicated anyone else had been in there. Curious, Mary wiped her swollen eyes and stumbled to her feet. Uncertain whether she was to meet friend or foe, she peeked into the tomb and saw two men sitting at either end of the stone bench. Both men turned to her, as though they could sense what at first could not be seen.
Before she could retreat one man asked, “Woman, why weepest thou?”
Could they not see reason enough in the empty tomb? Perhaps they knew where He was, and could give her at least that small comfort. “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.”
Neither of the men spoke. Were they refusing to tell her? The cruelty was more than she could bear. Certainly she was a mere woman, but even a woman deserved peace a few words could have provided. Mary stepped back from the entrance only to be met by another presence. She turned away, unable to deal with even more rejection.
Once more the question was asked of her.
“Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?”
She barely gave him a glance. However her need to find someone, anyone, who knew where her Lord was demanded satisfaction.
“Sir, if thou have borne Him hence, tell me where thou hast laid Him, and I will take Him away.” She placed trembling hands over her face, wanting to hide the tears, and yet not caring if they ever stopped. “Please,” she said through her hands, “tell me where thou hast laid Him.”
“Mary.” Something in his voice...
Joy, wonder, delight. Nothing could have prepared her for the surge of happiness that filled her from head to toe. Nothing in this world could have been presented as a more desirable sound. She pulled her hands away, yet remained unable to look up. What if it was a trick? Was she so desirous to see Him again she could even hear His voice? Yet no one, not one person, had ever spoken her name with such love, such tenderness. Was it possible?
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