Who Will Roll Away the Stone?
“When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?’ And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”
- Mark 16:1-8
On this particular Sunday morning, there must have been quite the buzz around Jerusalem. Jesus, the one who had been called King of the Jews, had been crucified. His body now lay in a tomb. The religious and political leaders felt victorious for finally ridding themselves of this man who had stirred up such commotion and disturbance to their way of life. Those who followed and believed in Jesus as the Son of God were left with questions and devastating grief.
Mary Magdalene, Mary, and Salome could not just sit in their grief, so they went to the tomb of Jesus. Because his death took place on the Sabbath, proper protocols for his burial were not followed. In their love and commitment to Jesus, these women wanted to take care of the body of Jesus, to care for him in his death as Jesus had cared for these women throughout his ministry.
One major question loomed in the minds of these women – “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”
There was an obstacle to getting to Jesus. His grave was covered by a massive rock. The women knew they would be unable to move that rock in their own strength. Nevertheless, they went to Jesus in all their grief and with all their uncertainty.
Much to the surprise of the women, when they got to the tomb, the rock was no longer an issue. It had been rolled away for them so that the entrance to the tomb of Jesus was unhindered. Another great surprise was the angel sitting by the tomb. It was that angel who proclaimed the greatest news ever – “Jesus has risen; he is not here!” The grave could not hold the Son of God. The enemy could not defeat him. Jesus had overcome sin, death, and all the forces of evil through his death and resurrection.
Every obstacle to the Father had also been broken. Mary Magdalene, Mary, and Salome had full access to Jesus and full access to the Father. Not only did these women have access, but all people could now come to the Father through the Son. Where once there were questions of how sinful people could live in relationship to a holy God, the barrier had been broken. Just as the stone had been rolled away from the tomb so that the women could see the empty grave, so the consequences of sin and death had been overcome, moved out of the way so that God’s people could come without hindrance – no guilt, no shame, no fear.
Throughout this Easter season, you are invited to marvel in all that has been done for you! Salvation has been earned on your behalf; the stone has been rolled away, and you are welcome into the presence of your God. Reflection:
Are you living in this beautiful reality? Are you rejoicing in what has been provided you on this glorious day? The stone has been rolled away, and you are now invited to come and see this risen Lord.