The women went to the tomb early that morning. The body of Jesus had been hurriedly, though lovingly, placed there. Joseph and Nicodemus hadn’t had a lot of time to plan a funeral since the Sabbath was approaching when Jesus died and they had to get the work done quickly so that they would not be in violation of Jewish law. The women hoped to be able to add more spices to the grave clothes, though they wondered how they could do that with the stone rolled over the entrance. Perhaps the guards would take pity on them and help them with that task.
But by the time they got there, everything had changed.
The stone was moved. The body was gone. An angel stood guard.
“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said” (Matthew 28:6a).
They were instructed to go and tell the disciples what they had witnessed and heard and then to go to Galilee to see Him. According to both Mark and Luke the disciples didn’t believe them even though Jesus had told them on several occasions that He would die and rise again.
But it’s hard to wrap your mind around a physical impossibility even when God tells you that it will be so. The disciples would have to see for themselves the truth of the women’s report.
It’s what catches us by surprise so often. We “know” theoretically that God can do what He says, but are still amazed when He actually does the impossible. It’s a sad testimony as to the quality of our faith.
On the positive side God is not limited by our weak faith. He wasn’t sitting in heaven wringing His hands and saying, “Man, these people must BELIEVE before I can bring my Son back to life!”
There are times when God acts in response to faith, or doesn’t respond because of its absence. There are times when He acts despite our lack of faith. Which one of those comes into play depends, not on us, but on His eternal purposes, on what He wants to get done to further His redemptive plan.
He can’t be thwarted.
As I read this story, I know what these women were feeling. They carried with them the weight of “It’s over.” The dreams and expectations had been shattered. There was nothing left but grief.
They expected only a dead body.
What they got was a living Saviour. What they thought was over had only just begun!