It’s Sunday morning! Jesus is no longer in the tomb! We rejoin John’s account as strange things are happening with Jesus’ body. John is going to give us a firsthand account of that morning. I love reading his account of it because I can so clearly see it in my mind.
Mary Magdalene was a busy woman that day. She first accompanied the group of women on the way to the tomb where they found that Jesus’ body was not there. They saw the cloths but not Him. The linen was empty! She personally watched Joseph and Nicodemus place Jesus, wrapped in those linen strips, in this very tomb. What happened to Him?
Distraught, Mary runs away from the tomb before the “two men” appear to tell the women what has happened. She goes charging over to where Peter and John were. We don’t know if they were with the other disciples at this point or not but they are the only two John mentions Mary telling of her discovery.
Mary is distraught! She fully believes someone came and stole Jesus’ body away. She wants to know where they have hidden Him. Her heart is breaking with grief as she tells Peter and John.
Peter and John look at one another and without a word, take off running. The women must have relayed the location of Jesus’ tomb during the three day wait because Peter and John leave Mary in the dust. They are not out for a morning jog; they are flat out sprinting for all they are worth!
Apparently John had the longer legs or was more fit because he outran Peter. I wonder what it was that kept John at the door. He only looked in. Was he afraid? Did he think something bad would happen to him if he went in? Was he thinking about being defiled by the dead? Was he afraid of ghosts? Was he thinking it was some kind of trap? What was he thinking?
Peter, being Peter, wasn’t thinking past getting to the tomb. He went on in. They could both see the linen cloth lying empty but Peter could also see that the face cloth was folded neatly and placed by itself in another area.
John doesn’t tell us what it was that finally made him go in too but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it was Peter pointing out the cloth that John couldn’t see from the door. Once they both see the evidence of an empty tomb they “believed.”
They believed Mary’s report of someone taking Jesus’ body. They didn’t understand yet that Jesus’ bandages were empty because He wasn’t using them anymore. They didn’t have any other explanation than the one Mary had given them. They left the tomb lost. Lost in their sorrow. Lost for an explanation as to why someone would do this. Lost for any clue as to where they took Him. Lost without somewhere to go to remember Him. No more running this morning. Just two very weary and heavy hearted men heading to their homes.
What an amazing thing to witness! The empty bandages. The stone rolled away. Even the carefully placed facecloth. But none of these things brought them any joy AT THAT MOMENT. That would come a little later.
Lord Jesus, I love how You laid out the clues. How You lead them step by step to the right answer. If Mary would have waited a minute more she would have come running with the message from the angels instead of the one born out of her fears. If Peter and John would have hung around for a little longer they might have witnessed the “Gardner” with Mary. So many times You bring us step by step to the answers instead of by leaps and bounds. That is what You did that morning. But even the step by step approach required a final LEAP with Your appearing in person. A few got that special one on one before the rest but still couldn’t convince the others of the real truth.
It’s interesting how Mary was the first to spread the rumor of Your body being taken and was also the first to have that rumor put to rest. They believed her the first time, why not the second? Probably because the second was too amazing to be true. Thank You that it was both amazing AND true! Thank You for not leaving Your disciples wondering but finally proving the truth of what You had been telling them all along. You fulfill ALL Your promises.