Very Early on Sunday morning at sunrise, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome brought spices to go and anoint the body of Jesus. On the way they said to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the tomb?” It was a very large stone. Then they looked up and saw that the stone had already been rolled back. Mark 16 1-4
The first witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection were the women who went to the tomb to anoint the body. They weren’t able to do so when he died because it was the Sabbath, but now the Sabbath was over they could go and perform this one last act of devotion for their Lord. They were in no doubt that he was dead. They had seen the whole thing and their minds were not in denial of his death but were focussed on anointing the dead rabbi’s body as was their custom.
The one thing they hadn’t quite thought through was how they would move the very large stone from the entrance, but that hadn’t put them off coming. They would tackle that problem when the time came. When they arrived at the tomb, the stone had been removed already. An angel was waiting for them and announced the good news that Jesus was risen and the rest as they say, is history.
But just think if the women had let the stone put them off and remained at home – they would have missed out on being the first to hear the wonderful news!
Sometimes I wonder if we let the “stones” in our lives put us off hearing the good news and living the full life Jesus calls us to. Just think what we might be missing out on! The stones in our lives might be the circumstances of our lives, relating to our relationships or career but also they might be a deep sorrow or pain or grief or fear, or the stone may be within our hearts or our minds.
Perhaps we are afraid to take risks because we imagine the stone of failure blocking the road to success? We like to be in control. If we can’t move that stone, we convince ourselves that it cannot be moved. We like to plan and organise and have all our soldiers lined up before we set out on a course of action, and very sensible too, but we don’t have to have all the answers at the start. We just have to have enough information to take the next step and faith enough to believe that God will go ahead and remove the stones for us.
The women found the stone was removed. The empty tomb revealed the risen Christ to them. Every time we step out in faith, trusting God to remove the stone that weighs us down, we ourselves experience a meeting of the risen Christ and our lives are a witness to God’s love revealing the risen Lord to those around us.
Jesus overcame the stones of sin and death releasing us from their power to control our lives and future. The resurrection gives us hope and assurance that there is no stone too heavy or too large to be moved by God. Offer God your stone. He alone can bear its weight leaving you free to live life in all its fullness. Happy Easter everybody!
Alleluia, Christ is risen, he is risen indeed, alleluia!