“When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome brought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.” v. 1
The Sabbath was over. A long dark night gave way to piercing orange rays washing over the landscape. The first sounds of morning could be heard in Jerusalem. The animals waking in stalls, millstones beginning the slow mundane grind and bakers kindling fires to announce the beginning of a normal week. Before the morning sun finished prodding the roosters awake three women, laden with burial spices, plodded their way to the place of Yeshua’s burial. They needed to finish the chapter. They sought some kind of closure. They needed a final goodbye, a way to pay respect, a way to move on.
The Sabbath had been everything except a day of rest. How do you take a day off from a broken heart? Each these women had found a new life in Yeshua. Since each of them met him, each in a unique way, from a different set of circumstances, they had found in him the one person in the world who could make sense of their existence. The world had treated them as less than human, pieces of property to be traded for goods. They had been forced into life’s outer court simply because they were women. But Yeshua had brought them into the inner court and called them Princesses in the Father’s kingdom. To them he was life. Purpose. Meaning. The Sabbath was spent quietly weeping. There comes a point in sadness when all a soul can muster is a blind stare into nothingness. You just sit and look into the abyss unable to speak, think or even feel until morning comes.
Sunday morning found them walking together. Three women, who apart from their association with Yeshua, were so different there may have been no reason for them to ever associate with one another under normal circumstances. Yeshua had a way of bringing people together who normally would have been estranged. Now they are bound by one thing, the only thing of any real consequence, their love for Yeshua. They chatted as they walked.
They chatted about spices. They laughed quietly about the things they would have to do later that day, the weather, children and such. After such an emotionally taxing few days, there was something soothing about small talk as they made their way. Then Salome, being the more practical of the three, had a question.
“How are we going to get into the tomb?”
“We can ask the guards to help us!” Mary said sarcastically.
“Oh they’ll help us alright! Help us find our way home!” They snickered. They had little confidence that the guards would be of any help.
“Maybe we could bribe them with our vast riches.” The women laughed. But still they walked on. They had no idea how they would get into the tomb, but something compelled them forward.
As they drew closer to the tomb, Mary, the mother of James, said, “Sisters, we have to do this. Let’s just get there. I don’t know why but I have the feeling that something will…open…up” She froze, taking hold of her sisters, and dropping her bag of spices. Soon all three women were struck with panic.
The guard detachment was gone, replaced by random hurried foot prints. The Governors seal broken and the massive stone moved away from the entrance. The women looked at one another afraid to move for the longest time, then arm in arm, spices left in a pile on the ground behind them, they moved cautiously into the tomb. Mary screamed at the man sitting on the slab next to a folded burial cloth. Fearing the worst they backed toward the entrance to attempt an escape. Then he spoke.
“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”
Then he was gone. Three terrified women stood in the tomb, frozen. Eventually Salome spoke.
“We have to leave before they return.” “Who?”
“The soldiers! If they find us here they will think we’ve…” She hurried them out and urged them to run with her. Between breaths as they stumbled quickly back to Jerusalem they asked;
“Who was that man? What was he talking about? Where is Yeshua?”
Back at Salome’s house the women sat fearfully replaying what the man in the tomb had said. Mary’s eyes widened and her mouth quivered as she repeated slowly,
“He is going before you to Galilee…there…you will…see him…just as he told you.”
“It can’t be…oh…my…G….” Then the light came on.
Three sets of eyes widened simultaneously as the pieces came together. They screamed in unison and ran to find the disciples…