Today the women who followed Jesus will get the surprise of their lives. They are on their way to anoint the body of Jesus. They didn’t have a chance to participate when Joseph and Nicodemus were wrapping Jesus for burial. They had to wait until Passover was finished to pay their respects. The very first chance they get, they head off to His tomb. That is where we join our story today.
I started to get hung up on which Mary is which and who when reading this story. There were so many Marys in Jesus life that I can’t keep them straight. I know I’m not alone in that either. Because I was curious I went Googling and found Christiananswers.net which lists six women in the Bible with the name Mary. I wonder if two of those are the same woman; Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany, the sister of Lazarus. I started wondering about that after reading a book about Lazarus. It was a work of fiction but it poses a distinct possibility of the two being one in the same woman. (I previously posted the name of a book I thought was it but have since removed it because it was not the book I was intending to share. I can’t find the original one I read.)
During my search I also stumbled across a reference to a book that melds the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection together. I just bought it so I can get a clearer picture myself. I’ll let you know if I like it after I have a chance to read it. I’m not going to give out the title until I have a chance to look it over. I don’t want to take the chance of seeming to endorse a work I don’t approve of or believe in.
Enough of that rabbit trail though. Regardless of EXACTLY which Mary is which, we will press on with our story. One of the first things I notice here is that Jesus’ mother, Mary, is not present with this small band of women. As a mother, I’m assuming she was in deep mourning. I don’t know if the other women felt it wouldn’t be appropriate to ask her to join them on this errand or not. Also as a mother, if there had been something I could have done for my child, even after death, to show my love, I would do it.
I am going to make the assumption that Jesus’ mother was at the house where John was. I don’t know if all the disciples were at this same house or if this was actually John’s house, but Peter was with him, wherever he was. John was given the job of comforting and caring for Jesus’ mother. I believe she was under his care while the other women prepared and transported the spices for Jesus’ body.
These three women had been present at the foot of the cross and they had followed to see where Jesus’ body was taken. I don’t know for certain if they hung around and watched Nicodemus and Joseph anoint Jesus’ body as they wrapped it for burial. If they did see it, they didn’t believe it was sufficient for them. They expected Jesus to be in His grave forever, even though He spoke on several occasions of His resurrection schedule. They wanted to perform one final act of love for Jesus. That is why they got up very early that morning and headed out to Jesus’ grave site.
On the way to the garden our ladies realize that they are going to have trouble with the stone. It is way too big for them to manage and they didn’t bring anyone with them to help out. When they got to the tomb though the stone was already rolled away. Did this cause them to stop for a moment? Apparently not for long, because they went in and met the angel.
Our women came there to minister to Jesus’ body but it wasn’t there. The angel told them He had risen and to come check out where He had been laid. They really didn’t believe the angel. When they left they hesitated in telling the disciples what the angel had told them to say. Mark says they didn’t tell anyone, because they were afraid. We know they eventually told the disciples. Mary Magdalene told John and Peter for certain.
Another thing that I notice is that the angel specifically told the women to tell Peter that Jesus would see him again in Galilee. This is another amazing act of love from Jesus. Jesus knew how broken Peter was over his behavior in Caiaphas’ courtyard. Peter’s pride had convinced him that HE would never let Jesus down, regardless of what Jesus Himself predicted. Yet Peter lived down to Jesus’ every word. Jesus didn’t want him to suffer any more. Jesus told the Father to make sure the angel who met the women gave them this message for Peter specifically. “Yes Simon, I know what you did, but I forgive you. I want to see you again. I want to restore our relationship.” That is the AMAZING love of my Jesus.
Lord Jesus, even with all You had to take care of You still made sure Your friends and family were taken care of. You are never too busy to care for each and every one of us personally. You asked John to care for Your mother while enduring the most painful process of Your life. You asked the angels to provide Peter with a personal message. You would meet Mary Magdalene in her place of doubt (tomorrow). You have met me in SO MANY hard places. Thank You Lord.
Words are not enough to express how deeply Your intimate knowledge of my life touches me. I am one single soul in a world filled with souls. MANY much more important than me, in my eyes, yet You still listen every time I call. You often answer even before I voice my need. You speak to my heart in song and verse. You have sustained me in the darkest places. You have held me as I cried. You have danced with me as I rejoiced. You have regrown the broken pieces of my heart. You have reminded me of what love feels like. You have walked with me every step of my path. You even walked near me before I knew You. How much more personal could our relationship get?! Thank You for reminding me of Your intimate care through Your story today. I love You with all my heart.
When I first read today’s story the mention of Peter struck me as significant. I didn’t stay there though. I thought I should explore the whole story. I got so wrapped up in the process that I almost breezed past the point I was first given. You brought it back to my mind again. I believe this was where You wanted me all along. I’m not discounting all the other things You showed me along the way, but I needed this message as much as Peter did. Not because I have just experienced a serious issue like Peter did, but because I needed a fresh touch of Your hand. I NEEDED Your hug. I also needed a reminder of how patient You are with me so I will remember to be more patient with others. You love them in this same intimate way. I hurt You every time I hurt them, or specifically him; my husband. Please forgive me and help me love him with the same kind of love You have for both of us.