The stone rolled into place across the entrance of the tomb with an unexpected finality. She had watched him die. She had watched as his body was hastily removed from the cross and tenderly carried to the tomb. But how can you ever be prepared for such a death? And now she must return home because the Sabbath begins at sunset.
Sabbath is supposed to be a day of rest, reflection, and renewal. But this sabbath had been marred by the tragic and unjust death of her Lord. And now, she finds herself in a sort of isolation - isolation brought on by the need to observe God’s sabbath command.
We have no way of knowing what went through Mary Magdalene’s mind as she woke up that sabbath morning - if she even slept at all. Confused, afraid, hurt, numb - all of the above? Losing a loved one is never easy, but when it is sudden and unjust, the pain seems unbearable. And now, the sabbath itself stands as a barrier just like that massive stone at the tomb’s entrance. Like the stone, it bars her entrance to the place that holds the mangled body of her Lord and prevents the anointing that would complete his burial. The sabbath that was intended as a blessing now seems to be a curse.
After the sabbath is finally over, at the break of day, she returns to the tomb. As she makes her way to the place, Mary frets with the women who join her – how will we remove that massive stone? But, because they had honored God’s command to rest on the sabbath, they are greeted with a rolled away stone, a risen Savior, and the angelic greeting that tells them that all is well.
Of course, you know the rest. Your faith rests solidly upon what caused that tomb to be empty on that day. That empty tomb makes all the difference! Embrace that same sense of wonder the resurrection brought to those who first discovered the empty tomb. Treasure that sense of awe that comes from knowing that an empty tomb can bring fullness to life. Rejoice in knowing that because he lives again, we can live life to the fullest.