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?”
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’s account–verses 16:1-8)
The Stone: a physical barrier to entrance, a spiritual barrier to faith.
Who will roll away the stone?
The women could not enter the tomb until the great stone was removed from the entrance. It was an impediment to their purpose, they couldn’t move it themselves, and it blocked their view to what lay on the other side. They were worried about something God had already removed for them. They just needed to “look up” to see that their path was open and clear. Still, the women did not recognize it was God who had rolled away this physical barrier which now allowed them entrance and opportunity to remove the spiritual barrier of their disbelief.
Upon entering the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in white “and they were alarmed.” The young man told them not to be alarmed, for he had good news to tell them: “He has risen!” This angel from God showed them proof that Jesus was not there: “See the place where they laid Him.” Their physical view was clear now, not blocked by the stone, and the women could not dispute what their eyes beheld. Jesus was not there. Only this young man was present, and he was telling them something that, though foretold, they had not quite believed as they had come to anoint the body of Jesus, the crucified Christ buried in the tomb, His final resting place. A stone still needed to be rolled away, a spiritual one.
The women were uncertain in their faith. There was still a barrier. The reaction to the young man’s announcement that Jesus had risen and was going ahead of them into Galilee where they would see Him again was shocking. The angel told them to go and tell the good news to the disciples and to Peter. The women left “trembling and bewildered” in flight from the tomb. And, being afraid, “they said nothing to anyone.” They were still uncertain and confused. No one would believe this. Did they really believe it, even after seeing that Jesus wasn’t there with their own eyes?
Jesus later met Mary Magdalene, rolling away the stone of her questioning belief, and she left to tell the disciples–who did not believe her testimony. Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples and “upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw Him after He had risen” (Mark 16: 13).
Who will roll away our stone? Our uncertainty, confusion, disbelief, “hardness of heart,” and fear can all be rolled away by faith in the Lord, who goes before us. “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8). All impediments to faith are ones God can remove—if we just let Him. Though we have not seen with our own eyes, we can believe those whose testimonies of first-hand witness tell us
The Good News: JESUS HAS RISEN!
(Sharon G. Tate blog 03/27/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word