“Hurry up, Mary!”
“Can’t you run any faster?”
“I’m running as fast as I can!”
“Well, run faster!”
Mary, mother of Jesus, ran in front, her dark brown hair fused to her face in sweaty strands. Not another hour could go by or it would be too late. She was glad that her friend Mary Magdalene had some along, but she could not slow down. She clutched the bulging knapsack full of spices tightly to her chest and raced down the large, dusty road. She was exhausted, but determined to give her son a proper burial.
“Hurry up, Magdalene! I can’t wait for you!” She wasn’t even sure Magdalene heard her. Her mouth was parched from the dust of the road and her voice was raspy from crying over the loss of her beloved Son.
Magdalene’s first name was actually Mary, too, but most people called her by her last name —Magdalene-- to distinguish between the two Marys. The dry, riveted road seemed to go on forever until finally, out of breath and feet aching, they arrived at Jesus’ tomb.
“Oh no!” Mary clasped her tiny hand over her gaping mouth.
“What?” Magdalene asked as she rushed to catch up. Mary did not respond, but she didn’t need to. They both saw it.
The tomb was open.
The heavy stone was rolled away.
Mary stood in horror, the blood draining out of her usually rosy cheeks. Magdalene, too, felt her stomach knot, but she tried to remain calm for the sake of her friend.
Magdalene grabbed Mary’s hands, yanked her around and stared intensely into her eyes. “Mary, look at me! We will go inside the tomb together. Don’t worry; I am sure He is there. Come.” Without another word, she led Jesus’ mother into the dark tomb. The ground felt cold and almost soothing on their sore feet as they stepped carefully inside the entrance. It took a few seconds for their eyes to adjust to the darkness, then the inside of the tomb came into plain view.
Jesus body was gone.
Mary began to wail as she rushed to where Jesus’ body should have been. Strips of His burial garments lay strewn on the floor of the tomb. She picked them up and held them to her wet face in agony. Magdalene strained to lift her up, but the weight of the Mary’s sorrow dragged them both to the ground.
"Jesus, where are you? What have they done with you?" Mary cried out in anguish for her Son. Her sobs echoed throughout the tomb, smothering them in grief.
Suddenly, the tomb lit up like a furnace.
"Why are you crying?"
A voice boomed. Both Marys looked up, their eyes squinting. An angel stood over them, his robe like the summer sunrise and his eyes like lightning. Their chins collapsed on to their chests. The angel's thunderous voice continued.
"Why are you looking for the living among the dead? Did He not tell you that He would be crucified, and on the third day rise again? Behold, the tomb is empty, Mary. Your Son, Jesus, is alive!"
Mary and Magdalene could not speak or move, but the words the angel spoke were familiar. Jesus had told them that He would rise again, but at the time, they hadn’t understood what He meant. Now--as they stood in His empty tomb-- they knew what He had been trying to tell them! He was not here because He had defeated death just as He said He would. Jesus was alive!
As quickly as the angel appeared he vanished. Mary and Magdalene jumped to their feet and bolted out of the tomb. They had seen the brightness of a heavenly light, so they did not have to wait for their eyes to adjust to the harsh morning sun. They immediately began to run. Their feet felt as light as feathers. Their legs felt strong and able. Their hope and strength was renewed.
“Hurry up, Mary! C’mon, run!” Magdalene yelled as her feet pounded the dust into the air. “We have to go home and tell the others the Good News!”
“I am running!” Mary shot back from a few steps behind.
“Well, run faster!”
Luke 24: 1-8
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