Seeing white robed angels isn’t a common everyday happening, is it? Yet, our text would lead us to believe that Mary was okay with it. I might be a little shocked to look into an empty tomb only to find it wasn’t empty. How about you – would you have startled at least a little?
I suppose I should keep in mind that Mary was in the throws of grieving. Some may even say she was blinded by it. Especially when it came to recognizing Jesus. But when she heard him say her name, she must have thought she was hearing things. She surely didn’t expect to see Jesus alive! She hadn’t figured out this whole resurrection thing he had talked about.
Can you imagine how Mary Magdalene felt when she found the tomb empty? What emotions do you think she felt? Surprise. Fear. Anger. Curiosity. Feel free to elaborate in the comments. She couldn’t keep this to herself. She had to find Peter and the other disciples.
Where could Jesus have gone? They had seen him do so many miracles to help others. But he had died. He was buried in the tomb. Somebody must have taken him. Surely, there was no other explanation.
Jesus’ mission is finished. He gave up his spirit and died. It was a holy moment. The whole earth had to be groaning. Did you feel like John rushed us through the scene? I need to take some time to just be still. If that’s you, too, shut out the distractions and just spend some time with your Savior.
There was no time for sorrow or lament. It was business as usual, just another day of executions. There was some concern for the upcoming Sabbath, and of course, removing bodies on the Sabbath would be work they were not permitted to do. I understand having bodies hanging there overnight was also not permitted.
Crucifixion is such a horrible way to die. It’s hard to imagine hanging there with pierced hands and feet, maybe for days on end. Someone pointed out not too long ago that we wear that reminder around our necks when we wear a cross. Interesting thought. We don’t where electric chairs or guns around our necks, but we do wear crosses.
The cross is different for Christians. It is a symbol of love. How much we were loved on that fateful day on the hill of Golgotha. Jesus didn’t stop loving or caring in the midst of his pain. He wanted to provide for his dear mother, and he blessed the new union of his mother and her new son, Jesus’ dear friend and disciple.
Why did Jesus have to endure a flogging with a lead tipped whip? That seems a little extreme, especially in light of Pilate’s pronouncement of innocence. But the brutality must have been what needed to happen to fully cleanse us all from our sins. Hanging on a cross to die was not torture enough. It’s hard to imagine.
It’s not a pleasant reminder at all. But it is good to remember exactly what Jesus took upon himself for us. It wasn’t a quiet, slipping away kind of death. Recall the words of Isaiah 53:5, “But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” It was foretold that Jesus would be whipped. For us.