The Stone was Rolled Away and the Tomb is Empty

4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'”

8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. Mark 17:4-8

In most instances in the Bible, the first thing an angel says is, “Don’t be afraid.” I conclude therefore that angels must be terrifying in appearance in some way.

The ladies had just been talking about the dilemma of the large boulder covering the tomb. How could they possibly get it moved? Problem solve though they don’t know exactly how it was done, only that the terrifying angel had something to do with it.

And now this same angel gave the best possible news they could hear: He’s not here. He has risen!

Three women in the entirety of the world have the distinction of being the first to hear of His resurrection from God’s messenger.

They didn’t have time to think about it; they just ran back to the other disciples.

These ladies had the best news in the world to tell their fellow sojourners.

You could just picture these ladies skipping and dancing their way back to the other disciples. The news would rock their world as well,

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is, in fact, the best news anyone on the great planet can hear.

The stone was rolled away.
The tomb is empty.
The Son is risen.

Glory, Hallelujah!

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Surprise!

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” Mark 16:1-3

The three ladies had a problem on their hands. The stone was heavy, and it took men much stronger than themselves to roll it away.

But like every problem is a viable solution. When they got there they’d figure it out. They’d have to or their task wouldn’t get done. Perhaps they’d hire a few men nearby to help roll it away.

They had no idea what they were about to encounter and their lives would be foreever changed by the revelation. For now, though, they were thinking of ways to get that stone rolled away.

Have you ever been surprised by something you were not expecting? This, of course, goes for the good and bad surprises. Both are equally shocking at first hearing or sight. Then as time passes, the reality sets in and life slowly returns to normal.

It’s like heaven. We have a limited view of what that will be like. We get smatterings of information from the Bible but there will be surprises waiting for us. Big surprises. Small surprises. But we merely speak of what we don’t know now. Soon it’ll all be revealed. But for now, we wait and dream and serve the King of Kings in the way we know how.

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The Burial Plot

42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid. Mark 15:42-47

Joseph of Arimathea performed a thankless act of kindness by approaching Pilate and asking for the body. Joseph just could have gone about his business at the Council, but he wanted to do something for his Savior.

Even though many scholars are hard on the religious leaders of that time, at least two leaders come to mind as being kind and compassionate: Joseph and Nicodemus. Were there more who were like-minded? Perhaps. Many of these leaders could have believed and been fearful of internal persecution, so they went about their business honoring Jesus the best way they knew how. Having honest, God-fearing men in corrupt institutions is often how those institutions change. Joseph and Nicodemus were bolder with their faith, but those acts of kindness probably didn’t end there.

It’s always a battle, isn’t it? Do you leave the corrupt organization or be the light in the darkness. It’s an issue many of us struggle with. The arguments for both sides are valid.

Perhaps you’re in such an organization. “Bloom where you’re planted” until you can no longer tolerate the corruption.

You know where your battle lines are drawn about what you will or won’t do. Draw that line in the sand and don’t let anyone or any policy cross it.

God will help you because He understands that kind of organizational decay. He’s had to deal with it since Israel became His chosen people.

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Elevating Women

40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there. Mark 15:40-41

The Gospel of Mark highlights the role women played in this gospel narrative. Jesus Himself elevated their role in society by including real-world examples of how valuable they are not only in forwarding the gospel message but in what they bring to society as a whole. Men wouldn’t be where they are without women, and women wouldn’t be where they are without men as the Book of Genesis points out to us.

We are co-equals in this journey despite what modern society tries to tell us. God designed both sexes, complete with strengths and weaknesses, for a reason.

When we venture outside those designated boundaries as we see in the transgenderism, bad things happen.

When we accept transgenderism as normal and begin to normalize and cater to this behavior within our culture, very bad things happen.

Thank the women in your life for being who they are.

Thank the men in your life for being who they are.

And thank God for making you who you are.

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The Death of Jesus Christ

33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”

36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” Mark 15:33-37

The darkness that overtook this place was darker than any darkness they had ever known. How do I know that? The Son of God died on the cross that day, that’s how. How is that not the very definition of darkness?

Even now 2000 years removed we might ask, “What was God thinking?”

I don’t mean disrespect in the least, but how could He allow His Son to go through this?

He could have obliterated those who did this to Him.

He could have fried the entire earth.

He could have done anything else in the world except this.

But He did this. He chose His greatest sacrifice to prove to us that He cared about us.

Now, don’t think it didn’t would God the Father to allow this.

There was just no other way.

So what are we to do with this?

Make Him proud. Let Him know it wasn’t in vain. Let Him know that we are grateful. Honor Him in all we do.

He doesn’t ask much.

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