1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they could go and anoint him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb at sunrise. 3 They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb for us?” 4 Looking up, they noticed that the stone—which was very large—had been rolled away. 5 When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side; they were alarmed. 6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he told them. “You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they put him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see him there just as he told you.’” 8 They went out and ran from the tomb, because trembling and astonishment overwhelmed them. And they said nothing to anyone, since they were afraid.
At three in the afternoon, Jesus victoriously proclaimed from the cross, “It is finished.” Christ’s work on earth was completed. Jesus looked toward heaven and said, “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit,” and He breathed His last breath. Soldiers broke the legs of the two criminals crucified with Jesus to hasten their death before the Sabbath began. When they came to Jesus, they saw that He was already dead and did not break His legs.
The Jewish religious leaders and priests happily left Calvary, returned to the Temple complex and began preparations for the Passover services. They were finally rid of this man who claimed to be the Messiah and who had caused so much trouble for them. When the Sabbath morning arrived, they pompously observed all the rituals as if nothing had happened the previous day.
The disciples who had followed Jesus for three years were overcome with grief, fear, despair and hopelessness. They gathered behind locked doors, hiding from those who would seek vengeance on them for their devotion to Jesus. All their hopes of a new way had ended in tragedy.
The faithful women who had served Jesus and the disciples during His ministry remained at the cross after most had left and watched as Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus down from the cross and wrapped His body in fine linen. They follow as Joseph carried Jesus’ body to a tomb, placed it inside and rolled a large stone over the entrance to secure it. When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene and other women bought spices so they could finish the burial ritual. As they were traveling to the tomb, they were wondering how they would be able to roll away the heavy stone so that they could properly honor Christ’s dead body.
When they approached the tomb, they were surprised to see that the stone had been rolled away. They entered the tomb, but when they saw that Christ’s body was not there, they were confused and alarmed. Then they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting close to where Joseph had laid Jesus’ body. The young man informed them that Jesus, whom they had seen crucified, was now alive and waiting for them and the disciples in Galilee.
What if the stone had not been rolled away when they arrived? What if they had managed to move the stone, enter the tomb and found Christ’s body on the rock where Joseph had left Him? What if they had completed the anointing of His body, rolled the stone back into place and returned to Jerusalem?
William Barclay’s commentary on these verses states this: “One thing is certain—if Jesus had not risen from the dead, we would never have heard of Him.” But that’s NOT what happened. He is alive. Christ’s resurrection is the central fact of the Christian faith.
We don’t have to be concerned about “what if,” because we know what happened. We worship a risen Savior.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Never forget that in any situation Jesus is enough.
Pray for Hope for the World missions partner The Path Project as they work to impact children and students through after school programs. Pray for wisdom as they develop some new aspects of their middle school program.