The Three D’s of the Resurrection
What a night. Mary awoke from a restless sleep to find her pillow soaked with tears. By the brightening light she knew dawn was near. Why bother trying to sleep? Besides, Mary and Salome would soon arrive. Mary Magdalene pushed the dull ache in her head to the back of her thoughts and forced her trembling legs to lift her from her pallet. Two nights with little sleep had left her body screaming for rest.
Three days ago Mary Magdalene stood helplessly by while the dearest person she ever knew was cruelly killed. Jesus. He had been so kind to her. When Jesus looked into Mary’s eyes, she saw only love, compassion, forgiveness and concern looking back. Jesus never heckled her as others had, never smirked at her infirmities, never laughed at her embarrassment.
The taunts of the crowd still rang in her ears. “Crucify Him. Crucify Him.” Some of those people screaming for Jesus’ death were the same who, just a few days before, laid down palms for Him to ride across as He entered Jerusalem. How could people be so fickle? Why would anyone want to harm Jesus?
As tears flowed afresh Mary saw in her mind’s eye Jesus struggling to carry that rough cross up the rugged road to Calvary. It must have been so heavy and Jesus so weak. His back was shredded from the beatings. Fresh blood ran from His wounds over caked blood and dripped from His bent body. As the weight of the cross bore down on its bed of torn flesh, Jesus stumbled and fell. Mary was pushed and crushed in the raging crowd. Would their screams never leave her mind? Would the anguish on Jesus’ face ever fade from her memory? Mary sank heavily onto a chair and bent her head into her hands as her body shook with sobs of grief.
Disbelief. That’s what Mary had felt three days ago as she made the long, lonely trek to the crucifixion hill. How could this be happening? Surely someone would intercede for Jesus. Surely God would rescue Him. Didn’t Jesus say He was God’s son?
And then, there they were, standing on the crest of the hill. The cross dropped to the ground. The soldiers spread Jesus’ arms to conform to the shape of the cross. No! No! Those huge, ugly nails! “Please, dear God, NO!” Mary turned from the ghastly scene but nothing stopped the sound of the hammering. The moans from the lips of Jesus were drowned in the cheers of the rabid crowd. When Mary looked again, Jesus’ tortured body hung upright. The lash marks wrapped around His body to scar His chest. Stripped of his clothes blood, dirt and sweat was the garment He wore on that fateful day. Above His head Pilate had ordered a sign: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.“1 The crowd had quieted. Jesus’ lips moved and Mary strained to hear His words: “Father, forgive them,
or they do not know what they are doing.“2 FORGIVE THEM! How could Jesus forgive them? She looked on the precious face of her dearest friend….and wanted to die, too!
Mary roused at the persistent knock. Mary, the mother of James, and Salome had arrived. Quickly she readied herself for the sad task before them. The sun burst forth on what should have been a beautiful day as the women picked up their baskets of spices and started for the garden tomb. How gracious of Joseph to provide a burial place for their Lord. Mary made a mental note to thank him.
The three women wept as they walked, sharing their thoughts with each other, wiping away the tears only to have them flow again. Despair filled their hearts. They wondered who would roll that heavy stone away, but as they approached the tomb they saw it was open. Fear seized them. What was going on? The women hesitantly entered the tomb, and saw a young man dressed in white. They were afraid. The young man spoke: “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen. He is not here.“3
Mary left the tomb and saw….the gardener. “Mary.”
“Rabboni!”4 Mary cried. In a flash, disbelief and despair turned to delight. Jesus is alive.
Because He lives we, too, shall live.
1 Matthew 27:37 NIV
2 Luke 23:34 NIV
3 Mark 16:6 NIV
4 John 20:16 NIV
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