“Nothing had been said of Mary’s return to the tomb; but how could she stay away? The disciples might go, but she lingered, woman-like, to indulge in the bitter-sweet of tears. Eyes so filled are more apt to see angels.”
MacLaren Expositions of Holy Scripture John 20:1-John 20:18
I struggled with the readings of the church today. Too much reading, too structured. I needed something that was going to move me, fill me, remind me that Jesus wasn’t still dead.
I decided to read each and every gospel account of the empty tomb. I was reminded first of Jesus’ appearance first to women. That moved me. The tomb was empty but I was full. He picked my sister to reveal himself too. I wasn’t a nothing, I was something. I was reminded that I will always be something to Him.
The tomb didn’t seem so empty anymore. Where was He and when did He get there? These questions He said were unimportant. Only those whose hearts pant for Him will see that these things don’t matter.
So I sat by the tomb grieving with Mary Magdalene. Open my eyes Lord, I cannot wait another day. I too had brought Him my heart, where was He? My crucified King.
The words in the pages of my bible were no longer words, I was there weeping for my Lord. I felt the loss. I wanted to cry but couldn’t. I know the ending of the story. But God wants us to experience the pain so that we may see the supernatural, His power, and the depth and beauty of the resurrection.
I realized that I couldn’t experience the resurrection if I hadn’t gone through the last forty days with Him. I realized that if I didn’t grieve and want for Him, I wouldn’t have understood Sunday. I realized why every bad thing, every blasphemy, every insult that had been said about Him hurt me. I couldn’t take much more.
MacLaren goes on in His commentary to say,
“No wonder that these calm watchers, in their garb of purity and joy, had not been seen by the two men. The laws of such appearance are not those of ordinary optics. Spiritual susceptibility and need determine who shall see angels, and who shall see but the empty place.”
I, like Mary, had a hard time leaving the grave. I wanted to stay and sit with Him. I do it every year on my grandmother’s birthday- sit at her grave and weep. But every year God tells me the same thing- She isn’t there. It’s what Jesus told Mary Magdalene, “Stop holding on to me.”
He can’t do anything while we are clinging to His feet, when we let go is when we let Him rise in all His wonderful glory. He reminded me of that today- there is a time and place for everything- a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. It’s only through mourning Him that we encounter the resurrected Christ. We must sit at His feet in defeat in order to experience Him in all His resurrected glory.
I am forever changed. I will never be the same. I will never go back to the way things were. I will never linger at the grave. God has allowed me to let go of my old life, it is gone and buried. He told me to leave it behind and I have. It doesn’t even exist. You can tell me I’m crazy but I have experienced certain depths of love by God that is not explainable with words. It is not a theology, it is the power of change. It is the power of love. It is the power of forgiveness.
I like Mary am learning to leave the grave and stop holding on.
Are you ready to move on?