THE EMPTY TOMB
After the death of Jesus, his body was placed in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. A little before three o’clock Sunday morning, when the first signs of day began to appear in the east, five of the women started out for the tomb of Jesus. They had prepared an abundance of special embalming lotions, and they carried many linen bandages with them. It was their purpose more thoroughly to give the body of Jesus its death anointing and more carefully to wrap it up with the new bandages.
It was about half past three o’clock when the five women, laden with their ointments, arrived before the empty tomb. They were greatly surprised to see the stone rolled away from the entrance to the tomb, inasmuch as they had said among themselves on the way out, “Who will help us roll away the stone?” They set down their burdens and began to look upon one another in fear and with great amazement. While they stood there, atremble with fear, Mary Magdalene ventured around the smaller stone and dared to enter the open sepulchre. The tomb of Joseph was in his garden on the hillside on the eastern side of the road, and it also faced toward the east. By this hour there was just enough of the dawn of a new day to enable Mary to look back to the place where the Master’s body had lain and to discern that it was gone. In the recess of stone where they had laid Jesus, Mary saw only the folded napkin where his head had rested and the bandages wherewith he had been wrapped lying intact and as they had rested on the stone before the celestial hosts removed the body.
All five of the women then sat down on the stone near the entrance and talked over the situation. It had not yet occurred to them that Jesus had been resurrected. As they sat there in the early hours of the dawn of this new day, they looked to one side and observed a silent and motionless stranger. For a moment they were again frightened, but Mary Magdalene, rushing toward him and addressing him as if she thought he might be the caretaker of the garden, said: “Where have you taken the Master? Where have they laid him? Tell us that we may go and get him.” When the stranger did not answer Mary, she said: “We seek for Jesus who was laid to rest in Joseph’s tomb, but he is gone. Do you know where they have taken him?” Then said Jesus: “Did not this Jesus tell you, even in Galilee, that he would die but that he would rise again?” These words startled the women, but the Master was so changed that they did not recognize him with his back to the dim light. And as they pondered his words, he addressed the Magdalene with a familiar voice, saying, “Mary.” And when she heard that word of well-known sympathy and affectionate greeting, she knew it was the voice of the Master, and she rushed to kneel at his feet while she exclaimed, “My Lord, and my Master!” And all the other women recognized that it was the Master who stood before them in glorified form, and they quickly knelt before him. As Mary sought to embrace his feet, Jesus said: “Touch me not, Mary, for I am not as you knew me in the flesh. In this form will I tarry with you for a season before I ascend to the Father. But go, all of you, now and tell my apostles--and Peter--that I have risen, and that you have talked with me.”
“I am the resurrection and the life.” --Jesus of Nazareth