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The Empty Tomb- John 20:1-18

Posted by on April 16, 2014
On that first Easter morning, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene.

On that first Easter morning, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene.

Jesus was placed in the tomb on Friday afternoon just as the sun was going down. The Jews were not allowed to go to the tomb on the Sabbath, (Saturday), but as early as possible, around daybreak on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene went to visit the tomb. When she arrived, the stone sealing the tomb had been rolled away. She suspected grave robbers and ran to tell  Peter and John.

Peter and John began running for the tomb to see for themselves. I find it interesting, they were all running. Maybe we should run as we seek Jesus, as if our very lives depended on finding him. John outran Peter. He looked inside, but did not go in.

When Peter arrived, he went inside. This is so typical of Peter. As John is thoughtfully mulling over what might have happened, Peter pushes past him and rushes in. Peter saw the strips of linen lying there, that had been used for the burial as well as the burial cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. It was lying separately and folded. Would grave robbers have taken the time to fold the burial cloth?

Finally, John went inside the tomb too. He saw and he believed. John doesn’t say specifically what he believed, but it apparently was that Jesus had been resurrected. The note says that they believed first and then realized that it had been in the scripture all along. They didn’t make up a story to fulfill scripture.

Then Peter and John went home, but, not Mary. She was distraught. She stayed outside the tomb crying. She just couldn’t leave. She had watched Jesus die on the cross and she needed to see him, maybe to say her last goodbyes, maybe to pay her respects. She needed Jesus. Then, something made her look inside.

She saw two angels in white seated where Jesus had been, one at his head and one at his foot. They asked her why she was crying. She knew no one was in the tomb earlier. Peter and John had been in the tomb earlier and it had been empty as well. Yet, here sat two angels.

Was Mary startled or frightened? Did she go and get help from the men? Nope. She tells them why she’s crying. “They have taken my Lord away and I don’t know where they have put him.”

Then she turns and sees Jesus standing there, but doesn’t recognize him. He says, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

She thinks he is a gardener and tells him if he has taken Jesus somewhere, just tell her where and she will go and get him.

Jesus utters one word, her name. “Mary” Pause here a moment and say your name out loud. Jesus calls your name, just as he spoke hers that day.

She knows him immediately and apparently reaches for him, but he tells her she can’t hold on to him because he hasn’t yet returned to the Father. He tells her to go and tell his brothers, (the disciples). She does as Jesus tells her.

Mary waited for Jesus. She refused to leave. She openly wept for him and he appeared to her first. Jesus knew her heart. She needed him most at that moment. Her sadness had turned to joy, just as Jesus promised.

He knows our hearts as well and if we seek him, we will find him. What do you think about today’s reading? I’d love to hear from you.

Have an awesome day!

Wendy 🙂


4 Responses to The Empty Tomb- John 20:1-18

  1. Randi

    How amazed and relieved the disciples must have felt finally seeing and understanding the things Jesus promised to happen actually taking place! They had so much trust in Jesus and in return received blessed assurance.

    • Wendy

      I can’t imagine the joy they must have felt when they finally understood.

  2. chris

    I think that Mary was a woman who showed a responsiveness to Jesus’s true love. She was a woman who was so spiritually and psychologically evolved that she could sit in the dust at the feet of Jesus’s suffering. And while He experienced the torment of separation from His Father on the cross, Mary experienced that separation from God when Jesus took His last breath. She lived in the torment of that separation the days before His return, weeping outwardly as an unbridled display of honor, love and loyalty to God. I would guess this is the kind of heart that God seeks to call into His fold.

    • Wendy

      What a fabulous point. I think Mary does represent the heart we should all strive for and is a shining example for us all. Her devotion to Jesus never faltered. I pray that I could have the courage and devotion to Jesus that she had.

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