The Tomb is Empty - Holy Saturday, Mark 15:42 - 16:8
Today is Holy Saturday, and we will finish the gospel of Mark. Yesterday, we left Jesus hanging silently on the cross; it felt like everything had come to an end. But with the Roman centurion, we looked on and confessed, "This really is the Son of God." Today we will go together to his tomb, and see that those words are true. The tomb is empty, and God's resurrection power is beginning to move through the world.
Mark 15:42 - 16:8
Mark tells us that Joseph of Arimathea has been waiting for God's kingdom. I wonder how he felt now, burying the man who had promised that he was bringing that kingdom? I wonder why he goes to the trouble and the expense?
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome have been following Jesus all the way from Galilee. They have listened to his teaching and seen his miracles; they have made food for him and his friends and helped to care for them on the road. After all this time, I wonder what it was like to stand in front of that tomb and see the stone seal Jesus' dead body inside?
Now can I imagine the three women walking in the early morning light to the tomb? It is springtime, and the air is fresh and probably still a little chilly. Maybe their fingers are cold, and they are wondering how they will move the large stone so they can get inside and care for Jesus's body. I wonder if they have slept much in the past few days, and if they have been crying. I wonder how they feel as they go to care for Jesus one last time?
I wonder how the women felt in their bodies when they stepped into the tomb? Did they feel a jolt of shock and fear shoot through them? Did they cry, because they couldn't see or touch the one that they loved one last time? Maybe there was a tiny, unbelievable bud of hope starting to open up in their hearts that Jesus really could be alive after all?
Mark leaves us all here, standing in front of an empty tomb. We have followed Jesus throughout the season of Lent, and this is where he has led. I wonder if Mark wants us to trust that now it is time to follow Jesus again, out of the tomb and into the brightness of new and unending life?
Are there any words, or pictures, or moments in this story I want to ask God about right now?
Are there any words, or pictures, or moments in this story that I want to carry with me into the rest of my day?
Jesus of Nazareth, son of God: thank you that we have a book filled with your words and deeds. Thank you for going into death for us, and rising to live and share your eternal life with us. Give us the wisdom and understanding that comes from your Holy Spirit, so that we can know you better and follow you all the days of our lives. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.