The women awoke in the darkness of the pre-dawn morning. They gathered the spices they had prepared and crept through the silent streets to the garden tomb.
There – expecting a tomb officially sealed – they found a tomb burst open, with heaven’s energy! Empty of the body they so earnestly sought!
They expected soldiers who they would have to bribe to gain entry to embalm the body that was so precious to them. But instead, a silent garden met their furtive glances and the stone – doorway size – stood ajar – allowing entry and EXIT!
As they came closer, brilliance beyond daybreak and sunrise struck their anxious faces. Two angels sat – on the place where 36 hours earlier His body had been laid.
In voices sounding human yet resounding with the echoes of eternity, they asked: “WHY ARE YOU LOOKING FOR THE LIVING AMONG THE DEAD?”
Could this be? His body not stolen away by vandals as they suspected? But a miracle of renewed life and resurrection to that bruised and battered body they had come to honour?
“He is not here!” “He is risen!” With those words the angels shouted the echoes of angelic voices over Bethlehem’s fields 33 years before!
“Go tell His disciples” – news too good to hold to themselves!
Back through the quiet streets they ran! Cloaks flapping, feet flying, hearts racing – hands pound on barred and locked door where His disciples huddled inside in fear and despair!
Peter and John ran ahead back to the tomb with the breathless women following.
They too saw the empty tomb – the wrappings for His body neatly folded. They too saw an angel who directed them to go back home to Galilee where Jesus would meet them later.
Everyone rushed out of the garden – eager to share the earth changing news! Only Mary remained. Kneeling and weeping. How could it be – had His body been stolen away? Her heart was overflowing with the pain of the past few days.
When she heard a step behind her, she thought it was the gardener and out of her bruised and aching heart came the request: “Sir, if you know where His body is, please tell me so I can go and see it”?
Then to her ears came the sound of the voice she loved so well! With tones of clarity, she heard Him speak her name – “Mary”.
Her heart leapt! It was her Lord – He was alive! He was there beside her in the garden! He Himself gave her the task to go and tell – to proclaim “JESUS LIVES”!
DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY! LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME!
Hallelujah! The Lord is risen – He is risen indeed!
Written March 31st, 2013
Before the sunrise service at Spring
In the darkness of a predawn Toronto.