THE EMPTY TOMB

Bible Reading: John 20:1-10; Mark 16:1-8

On the greatest day in history a group of women, led by Mary Magdalene [see also Mark 16:2 and note the word “we” in John 20:2], came early in the morning to the tomb of Jesus and found the stone rolled away! They came with the express purpose of anointing the body of Jesus, and were hoping to find someone who would roll the stone away [Mark 16:2]. The idea of resurrection was far from their minds. Imagine their fear on entering the tomb to find an angel, who quoted those now famous, words, “He is risen! He is not here” [Mark 16:6]. Jesus’ body had been placed in the tomb late on Friday afternoon, and now on Sunday morning His body had gone.

The angel told the women to go and tell His disciples that Jesus was going for them into Galilee and they would see Him there. The women fled, both amazed and trembling, and told no one [Mark 16:7-8]. That is with the exception of Mary Magdalene.

She was hurting so badly. Jesus was everything to her. There have been many theories about Mary through history, but we must stick carefully to what we are told in God’s Word. Mary Magdalene is mentioned twelve times in the four Gospels – more than some of the disciples. Most telling is that Jesus set her free, casting seven demons out of her [Luke 8:2; Mark 16:9]. We know that she, together with other women, traveled with Jesus and His disciples, and provided for Him [Luke 8:3]

Mary Magdalene ran to Simon, and the other disciple whom Jesus loved [John], and told them that someone had taken the body of Jesus, and they didn’t know where they had taken Him. The two men ran to the tomb and Simon Peter went in to the tomb. The grave clothes were lying on the ground, and the head wrapping folded neatly nearby. The disciples would have known that a grave robber, common in those days, had not taken the body of Jesus! A robber would never have left that napkin folded neatly!

John saw [‘eido’ Greek, meaning, to understand, to perceive the significance of] and then believed [John 20:8]. But what should they do? They couldn’t deny the evidence, but as yet still did not understand the Scripture that Jesus would be raised from the dead. And so the disciples simply went to their homes, leaving Mary Magdalene weeping by the tomb [John20:11]. Oh, the depth of affection that Mary Magdalene had for Jesus! She wouldn’t leave Him!

Questions:

The deep affection of Mary Magdalene for Jesus begs the question, “How much do we love Him?” Would we have reacted like her, and gone back home like the disciples? What would you have done?

In what way does Mary Magdalene epitomise the words of Jesus, “Those who are forgiven much love much?”