I can’t imagine the three women said very much as they walked mournfully to the tomb. Grief and despair silenced their hearts. Uncertainty over their future clouded their thoughts. Yet, they walked forward to the tomb, nonetheless.
However, as they approached the tomb, a question was verbalized by each of the mourners. I believe they articulated their need with different words. We do that. We all have something that needs to be dealt with in our lives. For some it is a health concern, for others it is a relational need, for many more it is a need for provision and security, and for even more it is heart’s cry for belief, hope, and joy.
For these three women, they shared one duty. They approached the tomb of Jesus to anoint his broken body. Yet, an obstacle stood before them. How would they move the huge rock that blocked the entrance to the tomb?
Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they (Mary, Magdalene, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Salome) were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away (New International Version, Mark 16:2-4).
On this Resurrection Sunday, this is the picture that filled my mind when I awoke. The rock was not moved by human hands. Well, duh, you might say. But it struck me that so often in our lives when challenges, those big-rock-kind-of-obstacles, arise we wonder how we are going to move them on our own. In our own strength, with our own wits and by our own power, we contemplate how we are going to get the mammoth-sized job done.
These three women did.
They wondered how they could anoint the body of Jesus with a big boulder in their way.
Yet, as they arrived, the ground shook by Matthew’s account, and instead of considering how to move the big rock in their path, it wasn’t in their way. Instead, they were greeted with an unhindered entrance to the tomb! What they expected to overcome had already been accomplished.
Their effort was not required for this supernatural undertaking. However, the boulder was only the first symbol of the resurrection miracle. As the women rushed inside the cave, they discovered the tomb was empty. Jesus was not there!
As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.
Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb (New International Version, Mark 16:5-8)
What a turn of events!
The women had approached the tomb in mourning and dread. Now, they were fleeing from it. They ran back to the disciples in fear, in expectation, in uncertainty, with a message: Jesus was risen! And Jesus was waiting for them!
You see, we may have a big boulder in our lives to move. We may expect that we have to do it all by ourselves, without the assistance of any one. And it is true; we may have to take deliberate steps to see the process through. But, we don’t have to do the supernatural heavy-lifting or moving on our own! This is the job of Jesus.
He can move the stone away.
And when He does, when the big boulder is moved, there will be a story He wants us to tell on His behalf. It begins with belief. Do we believe in a risen Savior? Do we trust that He is able to move the big rock on our behalf?
And what do we need moved?
Well, I can make a list…
Lack of Forgiveness
It’s not a pretty list.
Yet at the core of whatever is happening in my life, these are honestly the types of things I’m dealing with in my life circumstances. These are the thoughts and feelings that prevent me from experiencing the joy and benefits of a resurrected life in Jesus Christ. These are rocks that must be moved out of my heart, my soul, and my mind. But I cannot do it on my own. Jesus understood that when he took every single one of these sins upon his heart at Calvary and died for me.
I’m just like one of the three women approaching His tomb this morning. I come with my fears, my worries, my stress, and my limited expectations. Yet, when I arrive, I am overcome. My Savior has cast aside the rocks that were so huge and impregnable to me by His power and by His strength. He has overcome what was meant to discourage, defeat and destroy me.
He has cast aside the boulders of pain, hurt, defeat and every other kind of sin in my life. My Savior has risen! The power of His resurrection has overcome suffering and death.
And this is why I continue to share a message of blessing and hope for anyone who will take time to read this blog. He moved my boulders aside and continues to do so. He can move your big rocks too! All we have to do is approach him with our struggles and ask for His help.
It requires a step of faith. No rock stands in His way.
Photo from http://ubdavid.org/advanced/way-to-heaven/way-to-heaven_06.html