But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are
looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised,
as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his
disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead
of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So
they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. –Matthew 28:5-8
It is hard for us to imagine the experience of Mary Magdalene and the other Mary as they come to see the tomb and care for the dead body of Jesus.
The women arrive still in shock from having witnessed the gruesome and cruel death of their beloved leader and teacher, Jesus. This is the same man that they had believed was the Messiah, the one who would usher in a new era for their people, God’s people. And yet, two days before, Jesus was killed, murdered, dead. They have lost not only a dear friend but the hope and dream that he placed in their hearts about a kingdom of justice and peace for all people.
The women are most likely not even fully present as they approach the tomb. I think of them as sleepwalkers, half aware of their surroundings, half lost in memory of all that has taken place. Perhaps they wonder: was any of it true? Was it all a dream?
If the women are sleepwalkers, the appearance of the angel is a wake-up call. The angel is so vivid and terrifying that the guards, trained and armed, are literally scared out of their minds.
And then the impossible message, “He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said.”
Could it be? Could Jesus have spoken the truth after all? What does this mean for them? How are they to react to such a message?
“Then go quickly and tell his disciples,” the angel tells the women.
How their hearts must have leapt! How their minds must have raced! I imagine them tripping over themselves in their haste to race back to the other disciples and tell what they have seen, what they have heard.
As we walk through the last days of Lent and Holy Week, I invite you to imagine yourself with Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. I invite you to immerse yourself in the experience of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, his passion, his death. The worship, stories, and symbols of this time of year are meant to be experienced. Come see and hear the power of Jesus’ final days on earth.
And as we enter the Easter season, I invite you to explore with me how we can go and tell all that we have seen and heard, all that we have experienced. We are called to be disciples in the world. What stories and dreams do you have to share? Who needs to hear them? We like Jesus must free ourselves from whatever tomb holds us back and walk into the world to proclaim the wonder of new life and love for all.
In Christ, Pastor Kat
Don’t just wear the cross — bear the cross.